1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,025 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,025
Reviews: 1,065
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 341
Gots: 622 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beerguy101 on 09-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,025 | Reviews: 1,065 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%

Damnation. The name basically sums it all up. This beer has all of the Duvel and Leffe components, but in a much more aggresively malted, hopped, and fermented way. It's basically amped up Pale Belgian. The difference here is that the balance remains firm and unwaivering. A very tart Belgian berry-like vineous (chardonay) flavor is balanced with big perfumy hop additions and a soft nectar-like quality-- kinda like you'd expect to find in a Mead. Then throw in some peppery spices, basic pilsner maltiness, and fresh tropical fruits (pineapples, apricots, mangos) and folks, we have a super complex beer. Quite dry and warm in the finish with a lingering numbing effect. Not that it's better than those beers metioned before, but it's a good choice if you want more strength with a similar profile, but don't want to sacrifice unnecessay fusals or phenols.

BEERchitect, Feb 05, 2008
Photo of xymyl
4.83/5  rDev +17.2%

Color is medium/light gold, clear with slight cloudiness (seemingly just from yeast due to too much movement. High carbonation at first and a fluffy white head that lasts and lasts.

Nose is full of floral, herbal, citrus, spice and sweeter apple and pear notes. There is so much going on here that it is too much work to sort it all out. I just want to enjoy it.

Taste is at first sweet, then balances to a spicy/fruity middle, depending on what you're having with it (sweet foods) it could really clamp down toward the finish. It has some serious hop bitterness at the end that won't fully express itself unless you are eating the right (or wrong) thing.

Overall: Medium bodied beer that is way too complex to be this drinkable. This beer is dry but the hops really amplify that dryness. But I didn't notice anything bad about these hops, this was super clean all the way around. It has a great fresh hop character as well. I could have said much more about this beer if I wasn't enjoying it so much. They must have used a Saison yeast for this, but it covers a range far broader than Duvel to Dupont to Symposium, I loved 2004 Symposium, but this is far better in my book. Enjoy!

xymyl, Feb 05, 2008
Photo of nbree00
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

A: Has a nice deep orange color with a hint of gold. The carbonation is at a medium level.

S: Has a potent citrus-hop aroma with just a little barnyard funkiness.

T: The taste is quite pleasant actually. This really embodies for me what an American take on a Belgian pale ale should be. Sweet up front with flavors of honey, orange peel and Belgian yeast. The finish is pretty bitter with the American hop varieties really showing through.

M: Feel was some what thin, a little less cloudy than most Belgians.

D: Not the most drinkable, as I really enjoyed the overall taste, I was really full after just a few sips.

nbree00, Feb 01, 2008
Photo of aromatorio
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%

Bottle from the La Jolla BevMo. Batch 029 - have another locked away, maybe I'll dig it out in a year and come back to this.

A: Poured a warm, clear gold. Thick, bubbly white head of several fingers. Looks mouthwatering in the glass.

S: Smells sweet. Definitely inhaled some fruity esters. Maybe a touch of honey, with some banana and citrus thrown in. Powerful aromatics produced thick olfactory reactions - this is no thin beer.

T: Starts out very sweet. Coming from a stout/porter background, this was a very interesting beer. Just when I thought the light notes were going to be cloying, in rushed a whole new spectrum of hoppy bitters. Ah yes, I thought, this is what gets me everytime with these strong ales. However, in this case I enjoyed the dichotomy and look forward to an aged bottle of this batch for comparison.

M: Nothing spectacular to report here. It felt consistent on the palate. I actually liked it less as it warmed up, but I started it off at cellar temperature - my next bottle I may chill a bit more.

D: For me, this was a moderate-to-very drinkable ale. The alcohol was noticeable but not overpowering. The initial fruit notes were nicely offset by the hops. Almost too much for me, but I was able to finish her off without too much effort.

aromatorio, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of JayQue
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

My first Russian River beer, purchased at Cork and Kegs in Richmond VA. Bottle listed as Batch 012. Pours a cloudy straw gold color with a fast fading white head and light lacing. Smell is fairly prominent, astringent, some citrus and banana.

Tastes good, a relatively mild Belgian, very accessible for those that have not sampled many stronger tasting Belgian type beers. Definitely some astringency up front with lemon /citrus and bananas as the follow on tastes. Finishes with a mild earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Might help with drinkability along with a fairly low (for a Belgian) 7.0 abv, but I like more of the overpowering richness that many Belgian Strong Ales feature.

I hope to try more Russian River beers in the future

JayQue, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +10%

Nice to finally get to try something from this touted brewery!

Pours an effervescent gold wit 3+ fingers of white head. After the carbonation fades this beer takes on a viscous appearance. Hazes up towards the bottom, duh. Good head retention & lacing

S: Intense blast of pears, apricots, pineapples, & a bit of rubber band. Also whispers of citric hops

T: Lemony & grapefruitty hops, white pepper, along with apricots & pears up fronts. Dryness, honey sweetness, pineapples & some citric hops as this warms. Finishes dry with more fruittyness (passion fruit & pineapple), & a great citric hop bite

Drinks easy, a nice American hop slant on the style that doesn't go too far. Complexity & the style slowed me down a bit. My highest rated beer this style

russpowell, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of illidurit
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%

As with all BSPAs, this one is poured into my Duvel tulip. Hazy gold color with a fluffy white head of 2 fingers. Nice Belgian lacing.

Smells a bit like a wheat beer, with banana/clove phenols. A nice yeasty flavor comes through as well, with some pear and apple rounding out the fruitiness.

Flavor is like a sweeter Duvel. Banana and yeast are very strong, with some great spicing along the lines of coriander and mild ginger.

Very soft and mellow mouthfeel, with fluffy carbonation and a medium body. Extremely drinkable.

illidurit, Jan 23, 2008
Photo of bozebus17
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

Big thanks to Beer Truth for this one.

Pours a somewhat cloudy gold. There is a huge white head with great staying power. I left plentiful lacing down the sides of my goblet.

Smells very grainy with a definite yeasty character. I also notice earthiness and some spice.

The flavor is full and complex. There is a nice wheat-like maltiness throughout. There is a strong peppery spiciness from the yeast. The beer is slightly sour and the hops pull through nicely to balance the initial malt flavor. It finishes bone dry and lingers on the tongue. Alcohol is not noticeable.

This is an awesome brew! From the moment I poured it into my glass and saw the beautiful color and bountiful head I knew I was in for a treat. I would absolutely love to have another bottle of this stuff. Top notch.

bozebus17, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of trevorwideman
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Sampled with oakbluff and fisherman34. thanks to oakbluff for bringing this to the tasting. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a light orange colour with lots of sediment. Not much in the way of head, but lovely lacing. Carbonation is mild. Aroma is light with some herbs, spices. Coriander is evident. Lovely ripe fruit aromas, banana, peach, and nectarine.

Taste is similar to the aroma. Spicy, peppery and herbal hops balanced well by a nice bready malt presence. The fruity yeast character shines through. Super well balanced. Mouthfeel is medium/heavy bodied with a fairly spicy dry finish. Carbonation is spot on. It's a hell of a beer, this one. I'm privileged to have tried it.

trevorwideman, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of bobsy
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%

Bottle from Coit Liquors in San Francisco. A glowing golden pout with a whiter-than-white rocky head. Banana and cloves in the aroma...am I describing a hefeweizen here? Sweet bubblegum flavour with honey and cinnamon. Good level of carbonation and a great body round off a solid brew.

bobsy, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of BlindPig
3.38/5  rDev -18%

A- Pours with a really thick just off white head on a clear golden body.
S- Big ripe bananas up front in the nose with light yeast and some caramel malt body coming through. Almost smells like those hard candies that were shaped like the fruit (the banana one of course) with a little funk to it.
T-Follows the aroma but not so strong on the banana. Still in there strong though. More of the yeast comes through with just a sweet side added by the malt. Light flavor of grass hops that leave just a little bitterness all over the tongue. The banana sticks through the aftertaste as well.
M- Medium to full body with medium carbonation.
D- I don't think this is anything to rave about. A bit to strong on the bananas with no other fruit to balance it out.

BlindPig, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of marcpal
4.53/5  rDev +10%

Expecations very high, expectations absolutely met. Poured from a 750ml at the Vine in San Diego. This was truly a treat.

A: Looks like a Belgian, good start. Hazy gold color with some nice carbonation presence as well as that cloudiness that leaves a tremendous head and thorough lacing and retention. Good start.

S: Sweet fruits and spices. The banana and coriander are the most dominant and appetizing.
Belgium reminders.

T: Powerful upfront taste that matches the absolute perfect balance of fruit, hops, and spices. The coriander structure hits up front and in back but the hops make an appearance and really tops this one off in spectacular fashion.

M: Dry finish with a bit of a mouthfeel that lets you know there are some hops in this beer.

D: Insanely drinkable. The 750ml was no problem, need to get some of this out in NJ. This matched what I had hoped for and as a person not locked into the Belgian style, this is such a pleasure I may soon be more hooked on this- what a great representation.

marcpal, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of DIM
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

a: This beer is a very clear, bright, pale yellow. Pours with a huge, uneven white head that fades fairly quickly.

s: Banana and clove notes that are reminiscent of a wit beer dominate. Some floral hops that smell of roses also.

t: A sweet and dry combination of pepper and bananas start things off. A strong tongue tingling floral hop gives way to a faint but pleasant alcohol burn on the finish.

m: Viscous enough, but the carbonation came up a bit short.

d: This was my first from Russian River and I very much look forward to more.

DIM, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of ppoitras
4.9/5  rDev +18.9%

750ml bottle from ClockworkOrange via I Want That BIF 3. Batch 027, corked and caged.

Pretty much same experience as previous review. Still damn good stuff.

(5/4.5/5/5/5, 10/15/07)
750ml bottle from unknown trade or BIF. Batch 016, corked and caged.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1 1/2" bright white head above the effervescent, cloudy golden brew. Head escalades up and over the rim before settling over time. Lace is thick and coating. Aroma is pale malts and spices, which is replicated in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is oh-so smooth, and drinkability is tantalizing, always glad to revisit. This one hasn't lost much if anything in its later iterations. Try if you can.

ppoitras, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of k3n
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%

750ml bottle, Batch 17. Poured into a Delirium tulip.

A: Clear, deep orange-gold color. Fabulously tiny carbonation bubbles and a two-finger head that fades down to rocky islands, leaving sticky lacing everywhere. Every beer should look this good.

S: Funky Belgian aromas. Citrus. Cloves.

T: I can't do it. It tastes great, but I can't pick out the individual flavors. There's an underlying hop bitterness from beginning to end that keeps it from getting away with itself.

M: Perfect. Rich, full, creamy, and enough carbonation to hold everything in check.

D: Great.

k3n, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of 1759Girl
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

Had this at Toronado last night for the first time. Well, first time's a charm.
Appearance: clear honey color (looks a lot like a glass of mead) with light carbonation, a small head and lots of lacing.
Smell: yeasty, estery, honey notes.
Taste: Marvelously Belgian. It was sweet, full hoppy taste, and a resiny 'AHhhh' finish that was very clean.
Mouf: The mouthfeel was also true to style, full bodied with the tiniest of bubbles. Excellent.
Drinkability: dangerously drinkable. I ended up having two more immediately after tasting this one.

1759Girl, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

Batch 009

Pours a slightly hazed gold with a white head. Yeasty nose - like a beautiful Belgian Pale is supposed to smell. Flavor is mild and smooth. Starts off mellow and sweet with a different than usual alcohol flavor to it. On the end I get an earthy flavor - no doubt from the yeast. Feel is slightly bubbly. Extremely drinkable.

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of DIPA
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

A – Pours a very light yellow with slight orange hues with a large head of tight white foam. Head had good staying power.

S – Mellow fruits, spices in style with slight resonance of hops.

T – Nice spicey hops in first and the finish. Clean fruits; pears, apples, bannanas.

M – Very creamy with a lot of carbonation livelyness. Fills mouth but leaves very light

D – Would very easily become a staple in the cellar if easier to obtain.

DIPA, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of rxdrewthejew
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%

Picked up a bottle tonight at Wally's Wine and couldn't resist cracking it open to see what the deal was all about.

A: Typical Belgian presentation with cork and cage in a 750 ml bottle. Not dating, but claims to be from batch 28. The bottle instructed me to not use a pint glass so thankfully my tulip was clean. Pours a hazy light orange with a bit of sediment. Big fluffy thick white head and lots of retention.

S: Pleasent fruity smells waft from the glass. Closer inspection reveals pear, apple mild bananas, cloves perhaps, and plenty of other spices.

T: Strong, sweet beginning with the same pear/apple/banana feel, followed by a small hop middle and spicy, almost biting and dry finish. A hint of malt in the flavor but the ester/fruit and spice are most prominent.

MF: Full bodied but not thick or syrupy. The carbonation adds to the bite of the spices, and again, the finish is quite dry.

O: I think this may be the best Belgian style beer I've had. Certainly right up there with the Chimay Grand Reserve. The flavor is complex but easy to drink. The dryness leaves you wanted more. And for such strong flavor, the alcohol is really very reasonable. Lives up to expectations, a really good beer.

rxdrewthejew, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of aforbes10
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

On tap at the Toronado, in San Francisco. Golden straw colored, compact tight head with weepy lacing. Smells of pears, bananas, soft alcohol odor, wet straw. Flavor of dry pear juice, white grapes, dry animal hair, mild ethanol. Banana flavor grows as it warms. Sour cucumbery bite. Medium bodied. An excellent, exciting and ever-changing beer experience. RR can do nothing wrong in their wild ale lineup. So much delicacy in this beer. Room for error, but no error evident.

aforbes10, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of stemcell001
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

Served from a 750ml bottle, split for two people. Poured with a very nice fluffy white head. Smelled some good fruity esters when I brought the glass to my nose. The ale tasted much drier than I had expected, but the malts left a creamy feel on my palate with subtle hop notes the entire time. The drinkability of this beer is very high as my friend and I ordered two more during the night. Overall: very smooth and rich, an excellent brew.

stemcell001, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

750ml Corked and Caged bottle poured into several Snifters

A – Poured a very hazy and cloudy, and very bright yellowish-amber with a large three to four finger high head of white frothy foam. This settled down, somewhat reluctantly to just a thing layer across the top of foamy white lace. Very nice side glass presentation and more then adequate carbonation yielded a very lively looking brew that kept itself afloat from start to finish.

A – The smell here was very bright and alive. A very dominant yeast presence was accented perfectly by very bright hop notes in the back. A nice range of fruit from peaches, to pears, to even a hint of lemon all presented itself rather nicely and gave a very nice uniformly light feel to the smell. As it warmed some more subtle hints of grapes started to come through and gave it the slightest note of possibly being a bit sour.

T – The flavor was great, extremely big frothy yeast filled goodness would be adequate. Now let’s elaborate. First thing I noticed was a profound hoppiness which seemed to poke its head up in the beginning, settle down and then dry out the finish very nicely. This was a very fresh and light, almost lemon sort of hoppiness, very west coast, and very nice. The middle of it was comprised primarily of light fruity yeast flavors, with lots of hints at pears and apples with a little bit of peach added in. Some light earthy, cereal grains were making up the back and added some balance to it. Overall a quite complex and yet light flavor. This was definitely very interesting.

M – Very nice, I had thought it might end up being a touch on the thick side, but the nice carbonation help to alleviate this thought. A nice light to medium body yielded just the right amount of creaminess to allow the flavor to roll over the tongue and really create a nice finish.

D – A wonderful sipper this really was a nice light goodie that I thoroughly enjoyed. The flavor was crisp, the ABV low enough to not be a factor and the feel full enough to make it a fine bottle.

Overall I thought this was really fantastic. My first real goodie from Russian River in a long time I can see why people pine over these the way they do, (well Pliny showed me that anyway) this was a fine example of both the brewery and the style. I would not hesitate to turn this one down if it were offered.

mikesgroove, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of nahthan
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%

Awesome yeast-driven esters. Nice alcohol bite. Subtle background british/czech hop flavors. Extra-fermentable turbinado sugar kick helps give this a very dry finish. Best commercial example of a Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale brewed in the US. An excellent beer.

nahthan, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of ByTor2112
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%

Shared this metalmonk, and thanks to my rep John in CA for this one. Batch 010, aged about 4 months from receiving.
Poured between a Chimay goblet and my Bamberger mini glass.
Very nice straw-yellow color with a big fluffy white head.
Aroma-sweet, yeasty, grassy, some light spicy aromas
Mouthfeel- very nice carbonation, a bit champagne like. This tastes very good, almost like a nice farmhouse ale. Sweet with some earthy hop flavors. This is one of the better Belgians I have had in a while. This is also my first beer from Russian River.
This Belgian finishes clean. This is almost sessionable, very light but flavorful body. At 7%, the alcohol is not overly present in any way. Cheers to Vinnie for this wonderful brew!

ByTor2112, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of crookedhalo
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

750 ml cork and caged bottle, Batch 016. Pours a hazy, lemony-orange color with a fluffy white head. Darkens somewhat with addition of the yeast. Good stickage and retention. Pear-like in aroma with notes of hops and pale candi sugar. Light fruitiness and moderate sweetness followed up with a clean, dry finish. Excellent carbonation keeps it light and spritzy. The addition of the yeast provides a smoothing agent to the overall character of the beer. A stellar interpretation of the Belgian style.

crookedhalo, Nov 15, 2007
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,025 ratings.