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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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3,261 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,261
Reviews: 1,078
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 357
Gots: 705 | 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: 3,261 | Reviews: 1,078 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bonkers
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 750 ml bottle (batch 51) into a snifter. It pours a turbid golden, yellow with a long lasting fizzy white head. The nose is fruity/sweet with lemons being the dominant smell. The flavor is slightly sweet with lemons and tart apples, also a bit spicy. It has a somewhat dry finish. The beer has a wine like mouthfeel. It is medium bodied and highly carbonated. Damnation is a damn fine beer that I will seek out again.

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

Had at Russian River on 12/2

A: This beer pours a nice golden color, touch of haze to it. There is a one finger of creamy head that sits on top and recedes rather quickly. Nice spotty chunks of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Nose is of Belgian yeast, breadiness, spices, and a hint of grassiness.

T: Taste is begins with Belgian yeast, middle is filled slightly with breadiness and spices (clove is most prevalent), the finish is a hint of apple, and a touch of grassy hops that give a nice bite to the end of this beer.

M: Medium body, moderate to high carbonation, sticky body but a somewhat dry finish.

D: Well balanced, goes down easily, slightly prickly carbonation but works for the style. Belgians aren't my go-to style beer, but I could certainly have a few pints of this in a night.

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

750ml special thanks on an extra.
Pours a nice light golden color, good carb white head. Some cloudyness but very welcome with decent lacing. Aromas of lemon citrus, some spice and floral notes, very lively. Mouthfeel is fantastic not too light, but is a little earthy with a zesty edge. A very satisfying brew and although it isn't as good as batch 23, I wish it were around me all the time.

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

Served out of a 750ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours a golden color typical of Belgian ales. Sea foam disappears quickly and not much lacing. Smell is very flowery with a hint of lemon. Taste is again flowery with a bitter bite up front. Some spiciness. A tiny bit of alcohol burn. Very light and drinkable. Extremely enjoyable.

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

Popped open my 750ml bottle of Damnation (batch 47) yesterday to celebrate finding out that I'm having a son. What a way to celebrate.

Appearance - Poured a light honey/golden into a tulip glass with a significant foamy head which was slow to dissipate and left a TON of lacing. The head itself was almost a sight to behold.

Smell - Smell was fruity-sweet with hints of earthy/piney hops coming through every now and then. I loved the smell and tended to just pick up the glass to get the aroma every now and then.

Taste - Taste was pretty balanced overall but tended to lean slightly more fruity/sweeter side. Had noticeable citrus hints, which may have also seemed accentuated by the smell. At 7.75% ABV, the alcohol content is reasonable without being over the top. Didn't seem to have any sort of noticeable alcohol warmth to it. Very easy to drink.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, but was fairly high in carbonation.

Overall - Very delicious and easy to drink. This was the first RR beer I've ever had and I loved it.

Photo of jwhancher
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pale gold to blond in color, good head to start, nice carbonation.

S: Very yeasty smell. Could not really pick up specific scents, but it was appealing.

T: Banana hints, clove, very Belgium tasting beer.

M: Carb bubbles went kind of quick, taste didn't hit me at first, better taste towards the end of each sip.

D: Okay, not bad. Could drink a bunch. Served warm: not sure because the bar I was visiting had just tapped the keg, or because it was meant to be served at room temp.

Overall, with all the hype I had been hearing about Russian River beers, it didn't really attain those high marks. I'd be curious to see if the long travel for the keg (had this beer in Philly) had anything to do with my overall impressions. Would like to try this straight from the brewery.

Photo of Sideswipe
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap. Poured into a pint glass at Barley and Hops Tavern.

A- Poured a cloudy gold to amber with a finger of frothy white head. Head dissipated quickly, leaving nice lacing on the glass as I drank.

S- Yeast. Bread. Citrus. Faint hops. Just what I would expect for this style.

T- MMM! This is definitely a Belgian style brew. Unmistakeable presence of bready yeast. Light citrus notes. Lemon for sure. Hops are nicely balanced. This is very tasty stuff! High ABV is not noticable to me, which could be dangerous if I am allowed to drink these unchecked!

M- Carbonation is pronounced and goes well with the refreshing flavor of his beer. Finish is dry and leaves me wanting another drink.

D- I lke this beer! It is tasty, refreshing, and very quaffable. It reminds me of Stone's Cali-Belgie, without the bitter hop bite in the finish. I will definitely be enjoing more of these in the future.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first Russian River beer and I was not disappointed.

Pours a cloudy yellow with a small white head. The aroma is a mix of yeast as well as some citrus and fruit flavors. Very inviting.

The flavor has quite a bit of lemon and citrus notes to it. The hops come through in the end of the taste and make it very refreshing.

The beer is medium-to-high carbonation, which is what I expect with this style of beer. Very drinkable for a beer of this alcohol content.

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

A: Pours a very cloudy yellow amber, with a pile of foamy white head. Nice lacing and retention.

S: Yeasty and spiced as expected for the style. Thick, rich, and sweet.

T: Full flavored, a nice mix of the sweet yeasty flavors and some bitterness. Quite nice.

M: Medium amount of smooth carbonation. Medium bodied, with a long lasting aftertaste.

D: Drinks pretty easily, though it is reasonably high ABV.

Pretty good. One of the better versions I've had of the style.

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

At least as far as Russian River appellations go, Damnation is actually a pretty bright and sunny act. This beer's lovely, undeviating golden beams can be appreciated even from a great distance, and an even greater one yet if the glass is held directly into the light. If the few vacant patches on the beer's surface are any indication its carbonation appears a little tired, although looks can be deceiving so let's give this one a sip to be sure...

But first let's smell (trust me, you'll be glad you did). There is certainly nothing in the aroma that would let on that this beer is anything remotely tired or weary; the yeast may have been overworked but the result is a lively, highly invigorating bouquet replete with phenols and esters alike. A proper dissection would be incomplete without a mention of blossoming spring flowers, budding orchard fruits, grassy hops and a cedary wood spice.

This beer was properly stored in ideal conditions for just over two years, which is still one hourglass notch shy of what the brewery permits it to be. Overlooking a slight abundance of pear - which I know to be a sign of the beer loosing some balancing hop due to age - I'd say this flavour profile is just as dynamic as I ever remember it being, if not more so.

The maltiness, too, seems to have held up well. Breadcrumbs and toasty crusts make the initial contact after each sip; the fruits, flowers and spices follow soon after. The flavours aren't forcefully assertive which is a positive given their nature; the coriander/clove/white pepper-like spiciness could easily become saturating if not properly restrained. It is balanced by floral and very cider-like flavours of rose hips and green apple skins.

The alcohol is felt more in the head than it is on the palate but it's not terribly perceptible to either. In fact, this style beer makes for a considerably refreshing beverage even considering the extra few rungs of alcohol. That said, it does let on its strength in other ways, specifically the high-powered flavour and hefty mouthfeel. I won't lie - finishing this bomber I'm slowly slipping into a state of fullness and satiation.

Damnation is openly an ode to Duvel, the reported original of Belgium's characteristic strong golden ales. It compares very favorably, perhaps more so than any other commercial example I've tried, whether from inside or outside of Belgium. Increasingly, American brewers are catching up to their Belgian counterparts but there still aren't many who can beat them at their own game - Vinny Cilurzo, however, is definitely one of them.

Photo of Jwale73
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to petecz for the opportunity to try this one. 750ml corked and caged bottle (Batch #49) served at 53 degrees in my New Belgium Globe glass. Poured a translucent golden orange with a dense, two inch bright white head. Copious tiny bubbles effervesced in solution. Head eventually settles into a solid, quarter inch cap, leaving behinds thick, clumpy strands of lacing as it recedes. Nose is fairly clean - citrus, a hint of candi sugar, a touch of anise and perhaps a slight earthy/herbal quality. Taste consistent with nose, but some light fruity esters come out in the mix as well - perhaps passion fruit. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a palate cleansing background carbonation that culminates in a dry, fairly clean finish. Excellent brew - might be my favorite Belgian Strong Pale. Well-hidden abv, refreshing and all around easy drinking. I just wish RR was available on the East Coast.

Photo of bulletrain76
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75cl bottle, batch 38, thanks to larryLSB for getting this one from the brewpub yesterday. Rich, deep golden color with a fluffy white head that starts pretty big, but settles into a thinner layer after a couple minutes. The aroma has some pear and green apple, some light lemon, cinnamon and spicy alcohol, and some leafy hops. Pretty sweet, honey-like malt flavors, with fruity accents and light citrus. Finishes a little peppery and bitter, but there is a lingering sweetness too. Medium bodied with fizzy bubbles, and a little stickiness in the end. Nice flavors, but I would prefer it just a little bit dryer.

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

10 oz. pour into a tulip.

A: 1 finger head was bone white, frothy and creamy. Diminishes rather quickly but a quick swirl ruffled its feathers. Lacing was spare. The body was a clear and sparkling, yellow to light orange in color.

S & T: Up front aromas are undoubtedly candied banana and pear. Very sweet. Average grainy malts come through followed by earthy and light citrusy hops and fruit & spice esters. A doughy yeast is present. Mid to back end palate flavors include bubblegum, cardboard and spices that I can't discern. Definite warmth here.

M: Medium body for a pale ale but huge mouthfeel with a slick, very mineral-y texture. The lively carbonation and malts can't quite mask the alcohol completely.

D: I crave this beer and order it whenever it pops up in my area. I would not recommend it as a session beer, but 1 or 2 in a sitting is perfect.

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

Picked up a bottle @ RR on a recent road trip. Poured into tulip. Slightly hazy and golden, creamy, white head with good retention and lacing. Smell is amazing. A very sweet malt, candi syrup, some sweet fruit too, a little grain as well. Taste is good. Very sweet malt with some bread and yeast. Then a refreshing blast of fruit (pear and apple). Mouthfeel is full but not too think. Very smooth and velvety. Overall a great beer and great US interpretation of the style. My only dislike was it was a little too sweet, but not too much. Would drink again in a heartbeat.

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

Had on tap at the brewery a few weeks ago.

A: Pours a nice yellow/gold color, very bright. Has a small amount of white head, which lasts and very minimal lacing.

S: A nice mixture of honey and caramel malt, crisp fruits and ample amounts of coriander and pepper.

T: The malt flavor hits the palate first followed up by apple/pear fruit in the middle with some slight hop bitterness on the back end.

M: A very well balanced beer. The right amount of carbonation. A nice medium bodied beer.

D: Very tasty and very easy to drink. Not really sessionable, but 2-3 in a sitting is definitely doable!

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

A very pleasant drinkable beer. Poured light in color with a thick head from the tap. Left a nice size ring of lasting head with consistent lacing. Smells very mild...a little fruity.
Very mellow calm flavor. Definately picked up some grapefruit on the back of the tongue. Very light and drinkable with a low to mild booze taste. Had on-tap and served in a tulip glass at a local bar.

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

While in Concord, CA on business I stopped by an EJ Phair for dinner and was met with the fact that they had Russian River Damnation on tap and college football on the big screen. Needless to say, I was a happy man.

A: Bright gold with a one-finger creamy snow white head that left behind enough lacing to make this a visual spectacle.

S: Sweet, grassy, and pungent! This beer has a fantastic floral bouquet.

T: The herbal and floral hop notes balance each other nicely without muddling each other. Same goes for the prickly spice of the yeast and the cereal sweetness of the grains. My only complaint is that this beer does not warm well. The balance that makes this beer so special is heavily reliant upon colder temperatures.

M: Creamy but not viscous. Medium bodied and appropriately carbonated.

D: Highly recommended. Were this ever to be made available in Texas I would frequent this more often.

Photo of ljbrisson
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia. Pours a pale gold with about a finger of head which has good lacing and retention throughout the drink. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a little bit of spiky carbonation. Aroma is sweet fruits, orange, lemon, apple, some peppery spiciness. Taste is a fantastic balance of sweet fruit, pepper and light bitterness from the hops. Yeast was a little more up-front than I would like in a belgian pale, but overall the brew was quite good. I would take this over a Duvel any day of the week. Drinkability is extremely high. I would definitely order this again.

Photo of deapokid
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Tria on Tuesday and reviewed from notes:

Poured into a tulip, this golden-bodied ale packs a creamy white head and an elegant bubbliness. Although the bar lights were quite dim, I could still note some of the sediment floating around in this cloudy brew.

Aromas bring to mind tart fruit, red wine, banana esthers and a musky, dry scent. Combined, they make for an intoxicating, perfumey smell.

Taste is sweet and tangy, bringing the dryness of a saison and meeting it with a hefeweizen's summer lightness. The slight kiss of alcohol gives it an added complexity and the sweet and sour flavors play off of each other quite well.

Mouth is refreshing on the front end with a funky spiciness at the end to awaken the tastebuds.

This is an awesome Belgian interpretation and, although it's not that hard to drink, I could see it taking a toll after a few.

Photo of kegger22
3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear yellow with a generous head that faded to a skin. The aroma was musty. The taste was sweet pears, the flavor not over powered by excessive carbonation. The feel was light bodied with reasonable carbonation. Drinkability was good. Warming was a definite benefit for this beer.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Tulip
TEMP: Chilled to approx 40 degrees

Pours a hazy, almost cloudy, yellow color. Over three-fingers of fluffy foam sits on top. It recedes to a thin surface covering after a couple of minutes. Lacing is lace-like and quite sticky.

Very good belgian yeast presence. Nice notes of bananas and a touch of lemons. Slight hint of oranges. Good spice presence. Mild grassiness.

Taste follows the nose quite well. Nicely yeasty with good fruit sweetness and a decent amount of pepperey spiciness. It has a dry finish that seems very nice until the grassy hop bite kicks in and leaves me with an unpleasant (IMO) bitter aftertaste.

Solid medium bodied brew. Slightly high level of carbonation. Clean and smooth, mostly crisp, but a slight touch of creaminess does come through.

This is a very drinkable beer, in general. A strong representation of the style. Nothing I'm seeking actively, but would drink again, if given the opportunity.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River in August 2009.

A: Pours a cloudy straw-yellow with a nice white head and plenty of carbonation; good lacing as it goes down.

S: Quite a bit of pale malt lines up behind Belgian yeast with a little bit of spice. Also present is some pepper and a little bit of fruity sweetness.

T: A little bit of sweet grain flavor comes in underneath some spicy yeast with a little bit of hop character.

M: Medium bodied with a good deal of carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable, but a little off for being a go-to beer. Not one of my favorites from Russian River, but a good beer nonetheless.

Photo of EPICAC
4.92/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Damnation pours a mildly cloudy, golden color. It's topped by a thick, white head that retains well, but eventually fades to a thin layer. The aroma is spot on for the style. There are notes of banana, peppery spice, and yeast above a grassy, grainy undercurrent. Swirling brings out more graininess, pepper, and some alcoholic spice.

There's an initial sweetness that's mild, but builds into a fruity esters in the center: bananas, hints of juicy, tropical fruit, and citrus. The finish has a bite from the peppery spiciness and the alcohol. There are lingering hints of yeast, and a mild, hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Damnation is medium-bodied, but the crisp carbonation, along with a dry finish make this beer seem a bit lighter-bodied.

This beer was excellent. It's probably one of the best examples of the style that I've had.

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

Everything about Damnation is refined.

Pours from the bottle a gorgeous, tropical-orange color with plenty of soft, white head. Lots of lacing by the end of the bottle. Smell is subtle and wonderful; lemon, banana, clove, and an herbal grassiness.

Sipping, I taste Belgian yeast and lemon, finishing with a phenolic character. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth up until a delicately bitter finish dries the mouth.

Damnation isn't a flavor or alcohol bomb, and it's complex, drinkable, and so delicious. Alongside Orval as the best Belgian (well, Belgian-inspired in this case) beer I've had.

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

A - This beer poured a lemon yellow color that produced a fluffy white head which had good retention and left a decent amount of lacing on the side of the glass

S - The aromas produced by this beer had some grain, pears, apples, and clove, everything was balanced nicely

T - The taste of this beer started with a grainy maltiness that was overtaken by an underplayed fruitiness and an overplayed spiciness, has a dry white wine characteristic, and finishes with grassy hops

M - The mouthfeel of this beer had a medium body and a moderate to heavy amount of carbonation

D - The drinkability of this beer I would rate rather well, this is a damn good beer from an outstanding brewery, the only fault I could give it is that it doesn't add up to other things I have had from them, but since that's only Pliny, than its understandable

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,261 ratings.