1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,342 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,342
Reviews: 1,088
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 367
Gots: 769 | FT: 51
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,342 | Reviews: 1,088
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

Photo of BeerBelcher
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer wasn't exactly what I thought it would be; for some reason I thought this would be more like Damnation's more extreme barrel-aged stable-mates like Beatification and Supplication. It wasn't that exactly, but it was a really solid Belgian-style ale. Before I forget, a big thanks to my cousin for bringing this out from the west coast on his journey from CA to RI.

A hazy golden body with a pretty tall white head. Aroma was bread-y, with some light yeast-y and pear-like esters. Flavor was more bread-y than anything else, but again had light and pleasing fruit and yeast esters. Mouthfeel was light and effervescent. Really good.

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

Poured from 750mL corked bottle into a tulip. Looking forward to this one.

Appearance: delectable light golden color, slightly opaque, with a brobdingnagian white foamy head which clings on for dear life.

Smell: malt and grain yielding a fresh, floral aroma; at a deeper level there is a nice tart apple smell. Glorious.

Taste: big malt which quickly shows a sweet side and then segues into a tart yet still malty finish. What hop character I can identify is floral and very subtle. Quite good, though a little more tart than I usually find in a strong Belgian pale.

Mouthfeel: bottle fermented awesomeness. I love the creamy, medium-bodied feeling.

Drinkability: incredibly dangerous. Two bottles of this would have me ready to invade Northern California single-handedly.

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The body is the color of the flesh of a lemon with lots of active carbonation bubbles and a fine mist of yeast particles floating around. The white head is two fingers in size, has great retention (still a ring after an hour or so), and leaves a couple scraps of lacing.

A hint of malty sweetness in the nose followed by a great fruitiness that is mostly green apple with a touch of pear. White and a little bit of green peppercorns are in there too.

The taste features spice as the most prominant flavor. Lots of white pepper and maybe a touch of both green pepper and coriander. A bit of malt sweetness is in there. The fruits die quite a bit from the nose to the flavor. I still pick up green apple, but the pear is basically non existant. A little more fruit flavor and a little less peppery flavor would do this beer good. With that said, it's pretty nice as it is.

Medium bodied with high carbonation, very dry, especially in the finish.

This is a pretty drinkable beer, and overall is something I would try again.

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

750ml single from Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, around $11. Batch 049.

A: Pours a cloudy, neon yellow in color with a dense, creamy white head, tons of carbonation moving around in this one, and excellent head retention, pretty fair lacing as well. Nice looking beer.

S: Pale malts, strong Belgian spicy yeast note, pretty light in the nose really, has some faint musty smells, peppery, all in all smells nice, maybe just a touch on the light end though.

T: A fair amount more complex than the nose, grainy, quite grainy, has some definite cereal flavors to it, spicy yeast and hops play together nicely, just a faint hint of tartness, similar to what one would find in a wheat beer. Hop bitterness is minimal, and hidden way in the background. Pretty tasty really. Surprisingly no booze.

M: Really light, and crisp, very little alcohol heat, excellent fine carbonation. No alcohol heat at all. Excellent here.

D: Easy to drink, dangerously easy, has everything it needs, but just seems to come up a little short of outstanding for me. Nice beer, and I may consider aging one a bit. Recommended.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Fathers Office in Santa Monica

Appearance - Was poured from the tap with about an inch of head and decent lacing. Has a hazy golden-orange glow to it. Looks inviting and I can't wait to have some with my FO burger.

Smell - Very spicy, malty, and hints of fruit and floral. A bit of sweetness comes through also.

Taste - Tastes like it smells - a blast of sweetness at the front with some lemony/bready taste that ends with a bit of hop dry finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium bodied - crisp mouthfeel. Not overly carbonated. Goes well with what I am eating.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. I quaffed this while eating and while I probably shouldn't have, it was easy to do so. Did not taste the alcohol at all. Overall a nice beer from RR though I do not think I would seek it out specifically again (granted I have a bottle in storage right now).

Photo of craytonic
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky golden-amber with sediment on the first pour. Nice head, not much lacing.

Smell: Balanced, with golden fruit (pear, melon and apple) on central display. Lots of cloves, white pepper, and other spices. Bit of banana. Perhaps a bit lighter on the yeast than some of the belgians, but it is there and a better balance.

Taste: Honey, cloves, white pepper, spices, yeast, golden fruit (pear, melon and apple), banana. Lots of yeast and bread

Mouthfeel: Perfect carbonation, nice full body. Rather dry. Excellent.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable

NB: I like it a bit more than duvel.

Photo of mltobin
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first and only beer that I have had from Russian River. I have drank it off a tap previous to purchasing a 750mL bottle of it.
Appearance is a light golden color with a thin white head.
Smell is a mix of yeast, banana, and dough/bread.
Taste contains more citrus, some faint hops, with a finish that is a mix of sweet and dry.
Mouthfeel has some carbonation, sweet and dry in the finish.
Drinkability is solid, this strong pale ale goes down too easily if you forget its` ABV, so sip this great beer.

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

Appearance - Pours a bright gold with a white head and splotchy lacing.
Smell - Sweet, sugary Belgian yeast with citrus, honey and herbal notes.
Taste - Sugary malt, citrus and herbal notes.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.
Drinkability - Certainly drinkable, but a little too much sweetness.

Photo of BusyNinja
4.77/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this bottle of beer about 1.5 years ago, straight from the brewery. It was batch no. 18. After consuming 5 other bottles of the same, in short order, shortly after receiving it, have been saving it in my beer fridge for a special occasion. Special occasions came and went. Finally decided to enjoy it, no matter what, on Labor Day weekend. Broke open the bottle and split it with my ever patient Mrs. on Friday night, at home, with takeout pizza, with the kids. Couldn't get down to Philly to drink it on tap, and just could't wait any longer.

This beer lives up to the hype. More importantly, it lives up to my memories. Clear,light yellow when poured, with head that quickly decreass but does not disappear. Leaves lace to let you know what was there and what remains. Smells slightly sweet, but not overpowering. My words, and skills, cannot adequately desecribe this beer. It is deceptively poundable, and wish I had a case of this properly stored downstairs. Well, wish I had at least another bomber of this delight. Easily among my favorite beers of all time.

Photo of Buttermaker
3.07/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Let me start by saying I hold Russian River to a higher standard. They are absolutely one of the best craft brewers out there. So my relative disappointment with their Damnation should be taken in context. It starts off well with lots of fresh citrus on the nose and a nice golden orange hue and lingering head. But taste and mouthfeel are heavy handed and not nearly nuanced enough to stand up next to the best Belgium golden ales. Too bitter (and not in a good hoppy way) with an almost medicinal finish. Russian River can do better.

Recommended music pairing: Neil Young - After the Goldrush

Photo of schinebd
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - A dark golden brown with medium translucence and a think white head that stays for the long haul..

S - Mostly some light caramel malt and typical belgian biscuit, with some light hints of white fruit.

T - The malts and biscuity flavor dominate up front with some very mild funk. Underneath rests a basket of fruit like grape, pear and some apricot. Almost no detectable hop bitterness, and the lasting impression is the mild fruit sweetness.

M - Top tier in this category. Has just the right amount of carbonation, but maintains the same smoothness and thickness as a sip of milk.

D - Tasty and quenching enough to allow for prolonged drinking, but the ABV does sneak up a bit. Feeling a little silly after my 750 ml.

Photo of Slatetank
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Teresa's Next Door at the Beer Geek Brunch. Served chilled in a tulip.

A - Golden w/ amber lowlights, minimal white cap w/ a fine bead, the clarity is excellent.

S - Lots of dry yeasty and fruit aromas -subtle pineapple and light hop notes which are peppery. The yeast adds a subtle bready note to the mild grain aromas

M - A dry and spicy feel throughout w/ a strong nutty accent. There is a mellow alcohol element in the back w/ a spicy dry finish

T - A mild malt crisp flavor w/ toasted taste and slighthly bready element is mixed w/ tropical fruit like dried pineapple and spicy, leafy hops that verge on grassy, but aren't bitter at all. The alcohol is noticeable in the flavor but doesn't overpower the flavors the yeast gives off. A niced dry herbal hop taste stays consistent into the dry finish w/ a mild honey like malt effect.

D - Very great drinkability, perhaps one of the best Belgian Golden strong's made in America, a quality brew. I enjoyed this much more on draft than the bottle, but that speaks to the style generally.

Photo of davexisxrabid
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured gently into my Chimay goblet, taking care to leave the yeast sediment in the bottle. Poured a clear yellow gold color with a one inch thick head that fizzled down after about a minute but had decent retention. Not much lacing during the drinking period though.

Aroma of banana and cloves is very strong, and spices and maybe brown sugar - it's a hard to describe sweet aroma.

Taste is apricot up front, grapefruit in the back. Not too complex but with a light fruit and candy sweetness like a good Belgian ale and a light hop bittering to check the flavor balanced.

Full bodied, well carbponated (maybe a bit too much, making me burp a lot). There is a dry flavor hanging on the tounge after each drink kind of like a dry sparkling wine slapped with the inside of a banana peel. And not in a bad way.

Easily drinkable. Good flavors and easy on the palate. You could have this high abv beverage with a slew of dining options and it wouldn't wreck your palate. Unless you decanted the beer with the yeast in it.

Photo of botham
3.67/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at Toronado in San Diego. pours a pale gold color with a half finger of tight white head that leaves moderate lacings and has good retention.

aroma is of fruity yeast esters and notes of apple, a bit of peach and some apricot. bready yeast forms a base with subtle notes of citrus hops.

taste is more of the same with more subtle fruit notes and an effervescent quality. very yeasty with an aura of a belgian pale. nicely composed. solid.

mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with an effervescent texture, lightly dry on the palate with a sharp finish of residal fruit. well put together on the palate.

drinkability is good. for a belgian pale this brings the flavor, albeit a bit sharp on the finish. well done, but not great. pleasant on the palate until the finish. cheers!

Photo of srroos
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle (Batch 031) into a snifter. Pours hazy and golden with a huge white head. Smells sweet and fruity, lots of banana. Taste is yeasty, fruity (more banana), and sweet. Has a slightly bitter finish. Highly carbonated, but slightly boozy. Very tasty and easy to drink.

Very much like Duvel and excellent overall like Duvel as well.

Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Belgium beers have been sought after for centuries. In the great beer producing country of Belgium the brewers have made some what of a tradition to give their brews an unusual name. Sometimes the names are curious, other times diabolical and then again they can just be silly. The Russian River Brewery out of California has prided themselves on their Belgium style ales and have out done themselves with the Damnation. This Belgium strong golden ale is 7.0% ABV, has extraordinary aromas of banana and pear with mouth filling flavors of sweet malt and earthy hops. The lingering finish is dry and slightly bitter, but very very smooth.

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

Very solid strong golden ale offering without being cloying. Almost seems as to have some wheat and banana and clove taste but doesnt offer the peculiarity of a true belgian. Perhaps this is due to a colder fermentation. Almost more similar to a german hefe or old english ale in the tastes imparted by the yeast. Very basic malt profile. Just enough low alpha hops to keep it balanced. Beautiful beer.

Photo of auroracrisis
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this recently in a trade from alexgrahamlv, thanks again. Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass, Batch #47.

The cork was probably the hardest cork I have ever had to deal with. This baby was in there and when it finally came out, it did so with a big pop and some foaming but not much.

It's a cloudy, murky yellow with a huge, fluffy two inch head of fine bubbles. As the beer settles the lacing is apparent and big down the sides of the glass. A great looking beer.

It smells so good. Lots of lemons in the smell and a hint of alcohol. This beer is still cold so I think I'm going to let it warm up a bit and then smell it again. Some grassy notes are coming out of it now. Overall the smell is a sweet lemony zest with some grassy notes. Yum.

The taste is very similar to the smell. Lots of lemony, citrus hoppyness in the taste. It is also pretty drying in the flavor which isn't a bad thing because it leaves a rather clean finish. The mouthfeel also benefits from the drying. Overall though, the taste doesn't really live up to the smell of it. Maybe it was just too cold?

Mouthfeel is good. Light bodied and drying after you swallow with some fuzziness from the bubbles.

Drinkability is rather high due to the light body and not overpowering flavors.

Photo of Arbitrator
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled 750mL into a glass. I've always found this on tap so I've never bought a bottle.

A: Pours a clear golden color with several inches of fluffy off-white foam. Retention is moderate, and after a few minutes the final cap is a light film on top of the brew that leaves some lace down the sides.

S: Green apples and pears with an earthy/sour yeast bent to it. Also detect some lemon, bananas, cloves, and possibly pepper.

T: Follows the nose quite well. Starts off with green apple, banana, and pear. The mid-taste is mostly lemon rind with a touch of yeast underneath, and the finish gives the impression of dryness (but it's actually sweet) due to the properly timed arrival of clove and pepper.

M: Light-medium body. Well carbonated. The apple flavor lingers into the aftertaste, but it's otherwise pretty crisp and clean.

D: A good BSPA. Russian River has very good Belgians in general, and this, as their regular offering, showcases why. And I like that this is cheaper, yet better, than 'true' Belgians or even Unibroue.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,342 ratings.