Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,223 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,223
Reviews: 1,072
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 352
Gots: 677 | FT: 48
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,223 | Reviews: 1,072 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of largadeer
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 750ml caged and corked bottle purchased a while ago at the brewery for about 7 bucks. Bright gold in color with excellent clarity. A big fluffy white head forms from a gentle pour, good retention.

Smell: Fruity esters open this one up, pear/green apple come to mind. Pleasant floral hoppiness beneath that. Faintly yeasty, but clean for the style, not dissimilar to Duvel.

Taste & mouthfeel: Dry and grainy, floral hops, green apple, hints of lemon rind, pear and banana. High carbonation, very crisp on the tongue. Pleasantly bitter in the finish, and quite dry. I can understand why this is Russian River's flagship Belgian style beer, it's complex but very accessible and well balanced.

Photo of johnd513
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light golden color with a nice fluffy white head that quickly disappears and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Smells of yeast and fruit with alcohol at the end. Tastes of pears and other fruit flavors. This one finishes very dry. The mouthfeel is smooth and nicely carbonated. Drinkability is good, I had no problem finishing the bottle. Overall nothing spectacular but an enjoyable brew.

Photo of SShelly
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light gold with big fluffy white head, Tons of retention and lace, looks very effervescent.

Smells very lightly of yeast and fruit, very minimal aroma on this.

Flavor is light bitter fruit, very dry on the tongue, pretty lively in the mouth, light yeasty flavor as well, nice mix of flavors in the mouth, though a hint of astringency.

Probably not an everyday drinker for me but pretty tasty overall.

Photo of gciccarelli
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-draft at Capone's, served in Chimay goblet.

A - Pale gold with half-finger white head. Heavy lacing left behind.

S - Not a very strong scent...standard Belgian-style smell. Hints of fruit, yeast, and a little bit of alcohol presence...

T - Pear, hops, other citrus...alcohol is minimally noticeable. Very complex and tasty.

M - Very, very smooth. Lightly carbonated. Leaves a light residue behind.

D - Amazingly quaffable (is that a word?). Great taste and light body makes it able to be had all night.

A very solid brew overall. Good first experience with RR.

Photo of corby112
4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a hazy golden color with huge foamy white head. Aroma is of crisp fruits like apple, banana and pear as well as hops and alcohol. Very crisp quaffable beer. Lots of citrusy lemon and orange as wll as apple, pear and banana. Finish is slightly hoppy and dry. An amazingly smooth wonderful tasting beer!

Photo of matty
2.68/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale yellow colored beer with a quickly fading head that laces the glass.Aroma is spice.Taste is pretty gross mix of fruit,coriander and some other garbage spices.I would have been angry if I had spent two dollars on this but the fact that I spent 15.00 makes me feel like I was robbed.Total rubbish!!

Photo of froghop
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a semi-clear golden yellow with a medium white foamy head, and good lacing.

smell is faint, some apricot, and some spice.

taste is of sweet fruit, hops, spice, barely, has an oily mouth-feel, end is slightly dry and a wee bit bitter.

overall a above average brew.

Photo of Hophead101
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank on 9.17.08 at home. poured from the bottle into a wide mouth glass.

this was the first Russian River beer I had the pleasure to drink. Picked it up from Exton Beverage - as RR is almost impossible to find in PA.

it had a great slightly hazy golden color with a tint of orange in there as well. great thick head, but dissipated pretty quickly. it did leave quite a nice lacing on the glass however. the aroma was malty and yeasty. there was a nice citrus aroma throughout. sublte creamy vanilla in there as well.

the taste goes right along with the smell. citrus and malty flavor, a little clove and a little banana flavor as well. nothing to totally rock my world, but a great overall good tatse. had a super soft mouthfeel with a bit of a crisp finish and a little carbonation at the end.

Photo of argock
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap in a clear pint glass.

A: Honey gold with a thin cap of bubbly head and minimal lace. I have a feeling on-tap delivery does not do this brew's appearance justice.

S: Delicious aromas of pear, apple, yeast, and hefty malts meld together invitingly

T: The flavor is a good combination of light fruit sweetness (apple, pear, and white grape) and heavier than expected tartness from the yeast and grape and cherry flavors.

M: Despite the overly cold service temperature, this brew retains the velvety feel with a zesty finish from the unique yeast strain. Carbonation is understated. Aftertaste is yeasty and tart.

D: Not the most drinkable beer anyway, and, while this is my first shot at this beer, on-tap service probably hurts its drinkability some more due to the coldness and lack of head which detracts from the aroma and thus the unique flavor of a Belgian ale. Not bad by any means, but I think I would like the bottle version much better.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I found this on tap!

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden amber with carbonation bubbles off the pour. It slowly dissipates into a thin film of bubbles.

S: Strong yeast and orange notes. There are also hint of cloves. I really thought there would be more to the smell that I got out of this one. Especially considering the taste.

T: Malty from start to finish, extremely dry up front which is then followed by a malty sweetness in the finish. As the beer warms, the dryness of the malts diminishes slightly, but the sweetness remains. There are definite tastes of cloves couple with fruit esters. I can make out banana, apples, and pears. There is no booze taste at all.

M/D: Lightly textured and medium to high carbonation works really well with the flavor here.

Photo of CoolJosh
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a beatiful stemmed tulip at teresas in bryn mawr, pa. Was astounded to see this on tap and jumped at the opportunity to try this...

A. A see through golden copper which is beautiful in color, but no head or lacing which is slight disappointment.

S. Yeast orange and lemon, and if look hard enough you'll get a tad bit of clove, and I swear I got a little bit of banana

T. Really dry upfront, I got some white grapes, great orange and lemon, and nice yeast flavors. Surprisingly light, medium to high carbonation, and a smooth feel on the tongue. A great refreshing kick of lemon to finish.

Not my favorite belgian, but would be interested in trying again to see if my taste buds were distracted

Photo of drumrboy22
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Russian River chalice. Beer was a clear golden color with a one-finger, creamy white head. Soft carbonation and minimal lacing.

Aroma was pepper, apples, pears, bananas and yeast.

Taste was lightly fruity, with notes of apples and pears. This beer is spicy and moderately complex with some mild traces of candy sugar. Long, spicy finish.

Very well crafted Belgian Pale Ale. High drinkability. Another great beer from Vinnie and the folks at Russian River.

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

Glowing golden in color with a frothy white head and superb retention. Steady carbonation and sheets of lacing down the glass. Lightly honey glazed biscuits and crackers with a peppery essence. Earthy hop presence and light yeast. Taste is of fruits and has a delicate bitterness. Some woody flavors intermingle as well, adding complexity to the brew. Apricot and peach, light apple. Medium body with tingling carbonation and a moderate dryness in the finish. So smooth and a treat to drink. I have yet to find a Russian River brew that I didn't enjoy. This was provided as an extra by brandoman63 in a trade a while back. Thanks!

Photo of maximum12
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this bottle in Seattle during an August visit, & it joined a brother bottle (still in the basement) my wife smuggled home from the brewery.

Beer is a very watery yellow color, which hides a hellaciously sweet, candied nose. Taste is a mite disappointing after that; like the color, the taste is a touch weak, watered down, for a Belgian Strong. The sweetness is still there, but the beer doesn't have the depth & impressiveness of most Russian River brews I've sampled.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer came in a ½ pint goblet. What was funny is they said it was because of the higher alcohol content. It's listed at 7%. Right below it on the menu they had Salvation and served it in full pints. That's 8%. Later in the evening I ordered a Moylan's Barrel Aged Imperial Stout.... Again full pint @ 10% ABV....

Whatever. It was still very good.

Came in the goblet with a finger thick very creamy head. The beer was a nice cloudy golden color with a great deal of yellow tones. Not much in the way of lacing. But a really nice looking beer.

The aroma was spicy, fruity and had some yeast notes. Lots of stuff going on here. Peaches, some banana..

Flavor was very spicy and deep. Followed the aroma in that a great many flavors were bouncing around. Apple, peach again... The malt flavor and sweetness really worked well with the yeast and spice. There was a bit of a hop lingering effect.

Deep beer.

Mouth feel was actually pretty light. It had a bright feel to it and was really refreshing.
Nice drinkability. Really glad I tried it and would definitely have this again.

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

750mL bottle poured into goblets, shared with a friend, batch #041

A slightly hazed, golden body with a thin, fluffy, bone white cap that didn't stick around for too long, but just long enough to leave a little powdery coating over the top of the beer.

A very pleasant and subtle aroma. Lemons and oranges, yeast, white pepper, and some pear/apple fruity notes.

A mild bitterness up front, with soothing citrus, fruit, and doughy yeast quickly coming to the rescue. A perfect amount of spice is not overbearing and doesn't linger too long. Perfect.

A very soft beer on the palate. Excellent carbonation, medium-light body.

The abv is perfect for this beer. Very easy to drink. This is not an over the top BSPA at all, very well-balanced, soft, subtle and overall very pleasing.

Photo of GeoffM
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm still a novice when it comes to beer and I'd never seen a corked one before. Oh what fun, pulling the damned thing out and hoping it didn't bubble over much like champagne.

Appearance - Light and golden pale. Awe-inspiring, very large, rocky head that sticks around for a while and diminishes ever-so-slowly. Just lovely to look at.

Smell - Alcohol and fruit dominates the nose. I want to say Juicy Fruit gum is involved but of course I know better. Something spice-y on the back end.

Taste- Simply heaven in a bottle. Goes down exceptionally well, insane complexity that finishes nicely. Doesn't get pissy as it sits either, something of a rarity as far as I'm concerned. Same as the smell, fruity, not an abundance of hops, something like cinnamon (?) or clove (?) lingering around in there. Wonderfully light and delicate on the tongue.

Overall - Please try it if you can find it and aren't strapped for cash (mine was around $10). Just a fabulous beer, approachable and very drinkable. There's no forcing this one down, in fact I found myself forcing to drink more slowly. Excellent in nearly every regard.

Photo of lhaqq
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Light gold to pale yellow with little head.
S: Rice, tea, sour apple, with hits of caramelized malts.
T: Caramelized malts are the predominate flavor. Sweet, but not too sugary.
M: Good balance, but the carbonation seems to fade relatively quickly.
D: Good; have had it a couple times and will continue to do so--pretty sessionable for a Belgian.

Photo of Douglas14
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #41

Served in a half-tulip, per request of the bottle.

Pours a bright, clean gold with a super thick and wonderful head. The appearance is outstanding, but my only knock on it is that the head is not rocky like the Belgians, nevertheless, if I could review on personal preference and not on style, it would most definitely be a 4.5-5 on appearance. The aroma is uplifting! Spicy, fruity, and a hint towards a bit of tartness. The flavor closely mimics the scent, but adds much more complexity and character to the beer. A lot of citrus, hops, and pepper comes through. Fresh green grass also. What an incredible beer. I could drink this stuff all day. It is fluffy and light yet very complex at the same time. Awesome. Russian River keeps amazing me. How do they do it?!

Photo of tpd975
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Falling Rock Denver

A: Pours a light straw yellow color with a bit of cloud. Nice solid one finger head that has good retention and some lace.

S: Nice light fruity aromas with strong yeast tones.

T: Very fruity up front. Lots of apple. Yeast comes in somewhere in the middle. Lots of Belgian banana like yeast and a touch of bubblegum. Hints of light spicey hops in the finish make this one quite good.

M: Rather light for the style, with good carbonation.

D: On the light side which makes it drinkable. Not my favorite RR brew but very tasty. Nothing quite lives up to the Salvation on draft at Falling Rock. My mouth is still watering just thinking about it.

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

Batch 39
Poured a light golden color with a decent sized head with some good carbonation. Nose is fruity with yeast. Taste is fruity,crisp with the yeast making a big surprise. Mouthfeel has medium carbonation with a fairly dry finish with the alcohol only barely noticeable. Drinkability is good but I dont understand why this beer is such a big deal???

Photo of jwc215
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mfielden for including this one in our trade!

750 ml cage-corked bottle, poured into a tulip glass. Batch 42:

Pours golden with a thin, creamy white head. Uneven lines of lacing stick.

The smell is sweet - cotton candy/bubblegum with grassy/floral notes. Robust.

The taste is of sweet grain, spicy yeast with a bittering herbal/grassy/floral balance. Nice complexities with a robust flavor, though not too sharp or potent, adding to drinkability.

It has a creamy body that is just about as full as it should be.

The alcohol is well-hidden and it is delicious! A Belgian Strong Pale Ale (that is tasty, but not too strong) with an "American" touch. It has a bitter touch that keeps the sweetness balanced enough. A delightful brew!

Photo of riored4v
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 10/13/08

Poured into a Chimay glass. Clear, copper in color. Thin white head.

Smell was crisp with a mild bitterness. Slight fruitiness and moderate sweetness.

Taste has a mild, slight citrus bitterness. Mild malt sweetness. Slightly spicey and a mild amount of fruitiness.

Mouthfeel had a light body and good carbonation.

Drinkability is agood. Nice light body.

Good, easy drinking Strong Pale Ale. Could easily knock a few back.

Photo of joe1510
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Batch 027
Bottled 8/13/07

I was going through my cellar yesterday and found two bottles of Damnation I didn't know I had. One bottle is from russpowell and the other remains unknown, thanks Russ!

The carbonation crackles to life as soon as this beer hits the bottom of the tulip. The first pour is surprisingly clear and straw golden that darkens up an up a bit when not backlit. Stream after stream of tiny carbonation bubbles sprint to the surface. The audible head grew to two fingers on the initial pour before fizzling out to a skim coat with a thick collar that leaves patchy lacing here and there as the body drops. A quick swirl brings the head back to life and it has much better staying power the second time around and leaves intricate Belgian-esque lace behind.

The nose is full of orchard fruits, green apples and bright ripe peaches in that order. There's a dusty yeastiness that unfortunately seems to muddy up the fruitiness. White pepper and a grassy hoppiness add some complex spiciness to the overall aroma. There's a candi sugar like sweetness in the back that makes the fruitiness pop. I really like the aroma of this beer, the yeast just seems a little too messy although still borders on a 4.

The spice comes to the front quickly on the tongue in the form of grassy, somewhat soapy hops and white pepper. The spices balance out the orchard fruitiness that the nose suggested and leave a little tickle on the tongue. Sugar cookie sweetness stays in the back where it should but lays down a solid enough base to be both noticeable and enjoyable. The pepper leaves behind a lingering spiciness and the alcohol is undetectable.

The mouthfeel on this beer is up there with the Belgians. Lively carbonation combined with a moderately light body make for an airy mouthfeel bordering on creamy but not making it there. The spiciness lingers on the swallow and the hopping leaves a little bite.

The drinkability is out of this world for an abv of 7.75%. The fruitiness keeps this beer flowing while the mild dryness and spiciness keep me thirsty for more. This really is a hard beer to set down.

Russian River hit the nail on the head with yet another Belgian style ale. In all honesty this beer is better then my score would indicate but the nose brought it down slightly, that could be me being picky again though. Thanks for the beer unanimous trader.

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

Batch 036

Appearance: This one's surprisingly clear and a very light golden color. There's a few pieces of sediment floating around, but there's much more left in the bottle. Capping it off is a massive, foamy white head. It's easily approaching three fingers deep. Retention is excellent considering it won't go away. Thick waves of lace line the glass.

Smell: The nose very impressive. It's very sweet and fruity smelling. There's a mix of sweet apple and pear that's the primary feature. A really nice spicy aroma follows. The spices are very vibrant and bring it to life, though they are not as strong as the fruity aroma. It's mostly clove and light pepper. A nice whiff of Belgian yeast emerges and adds an element of authenticity. It's very earthy and grassy. All in all, it's very representative of the style and easily competes with its imported siblings.

Taste: This is a very tasty BSPA, but the flavor profile is very intriguing. It's as if Russian River pulled a bait and switch here. The surprising part is the power of the spicy flavors. I wasn't expecting it to be this spicy, yet it's very flavorful. The clove and pepper flavors come with full force. Sweet apple and pear flavors are more subdued. I wouldn't exactly say they tone down the spice much. Hops are very apparent and add some bitterness to the mix. They taste mostly floral and give it an earthy flavor. Belgian yeast is apparent in taste. I love that flavor. No alcohol is noted. It finishes dry and spicy.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It features a medium body and is incredibly smooth despite its high level of carbonation. It goes down so easy and can easily be characterized as silky smooth. That's impressive. Drinkability is very good. ABV is indicated to be 7.75% on my bottle. It's not too high to deter anyone and it goes down incredibly easy. I always find good BSPAs to be very drinkable.

I honestly believe Vinny at Russian River would have to work his ass off to make a bad beer. I've had nothing less than fantastic beers from them. For whatever reason, they have an uncanny ability to brew Belgian styles that are rivaled by probably one other brewer in the U.S. (maybe two). Once again, this is another fine example. Highly recommended.

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,223 ratings.