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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,309 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,309
Reviews: 1,084
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 361
Gots: 745 | 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:
Beer added by: beerguy101 on 09-19-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,309 | Reviews: 1,084 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ironlung
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap @ Toronado S.F. 4/18/09

I didn't think I would like this beer because I've been pretty closed-minded toward belgian ales. Bartender poured it as a mistake so I figured what the heck a russian river beer for free? How could I turn that down!

Clear golden color. Thin head that dissipates into nothing. Fruity yeast smell-can make out some lemon and some banana? Tastes great, very smooth. Not what I was expecting (funky). Mouth feel-again smooth, nothing lingers. Drinkability is too high. I think I'm changing my mind on these Belgians.

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

I can't imagine they're drinking this down in hell. When you pick up a bottle with a black label with the words "Damnation" on it, you're expecting something strong, or narcotic, or sinful in some sort of way. It's a damn good beer, but this light, white wine-like ale is more something at a fashionable party, not something ingested on the road to ruin. But then "Golden Ale One Might Drink at a Fashionable Party" probably doesn't sell as many bottles. Well, on to the review.

I carefully poured the bottle into two tulip glasses, one for myself, and one for my wine-loving better half. I took care not to disturb the yeast sediment on the bottom of the bottle. It fizzed up a slight white head, with a shiny, clear yellow liquid in the glass. I have a weak nose, but could pick up a little spicy yeastiness and fruity pear like aromas. The taste was an excellently balanced and blended mix of fruity pear with some toasty yeast toasty and slight spicey zip underneath. Had a white wine-like character to it, and full of subtlety and nuance. My wine-loving better half likes wine and pears more than I do, so she was loving it more than I. Mouth feel was pretty good, with the carbonation giving the right tingliness sensation on the tongue. Really refreshing and enjoyable to drink. Even warm, the flavors didn't go out of whack. Despite being a light, subtle brew, I didn't taste a drop of the nearly 8% alcohol listed on the bottle.

Schlitz Malt Liquor is more my idea of Damnation!

Review of Batch 044.

Photo of rtepiak
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pour looks somewhat light in color. lighter than a saison almost. wit like. but not murky really. pilsner flavor hop... could be more musky... but a nice mellow sweet. palate is minty rosemary. light dusty walnut bread with a light sun tea sweet at the bottle of the bottle... lemon grass, not as sweet as la fin de mod but not as complex a hop character as i would like. quite crisp. light. great interpretation.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - A ridiculously large and frothy white head stands at four fingers plus after just a small pour. TONs of beautiful lace sticks all around the edges of the tulip glass. The brew beneath is a lemon yellow with a touch of marigold highlights. Just beautiful.

S - Elegantly composed. There are starfruit, mango, peach, and bready notes. There is a hint of white pepper and funky brett too.

T - Spicy, semi-dank, and slightly fruity. I don't know if this is brewed with brett, but I would bet good money on it. This is spicy and funky like some really good mustard with a nice tang on the back end. The blend of funky, fruity, and spicy flavors is outstanding.

M - Medium bodied with silken carbonation and a nice dry finish like white wine. The unreal smoothness contrasts with the harsh funky and spicy flavors to make for a strange but likable experience.

D - This is damn good beer! This doesn't taste like a BSPA as I know them, but that doesn't matter. This is a dirty, nasty, funky, biatch. And I'm diggin' it!

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

Poured a yellow-gold with the amount of carbonation that makes this beer look refreshing. The head got retained in that stubbly sort of way leaving lace as it slowly dissapaited. The smell was very complex with a lot of different spices (pepper, cloves) mixing with some fruity notes. The taste was spicy with a dry bitter aftertaste. Appearance of refreshing held true as I really enjoyed this brew. It wasn't the most dense or complex beer but it was a perfect accent to a lazy Sunday afternoon where something more complex in taste might have offended. A really nice pale ale.

Photo of SeattleAdam
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch #42. Popped the cork and shared the 750ml bottle with my roommate. Poured into New Belgium "Worthy Glass" at 45 degree angle first time and straight down the second time.

A- Beautiful and hazy between gold and yellow. Dramatically lighter when held to the light. My 45 degree pour did not yield as much head as some other reviewers said they were getting but the second pour, straight down, produced a good 2 fingers. Head retention is not great.

S- The Belgium yeast can be picked up through the nose and so can quite a bit of zest. Lemon peel and pears come through too.

T- The fruits really come through in the middle and the head adds just the right zesty kick. The finish is incredibly clean.

M- Between medium to light but it's perfectly carbonated. The beer is the farthest thing from heavy but has enough body to warrant complexity.

D- Move over blondes...I have a new summer ale. I can't imagine a more perfect beer on a hot day. The flavors aren't too overwhelming, it's great cold, it doesn't leave your mouth dry nor fill you up and the finish is remarkably clean.

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

Poured a hazy yellow amber into a goblet. Wonderful pillowy head that lasted forever.

Typical Belgian-style aromas of fruits and yeast.

Taste was also very typical Belgian-style ale. Bananas, yeast, sweet, slight bitterness on the finish.

Very nice mouthfeel. Thick and full bodied for a pale ale. The carbonation was just enought to lighten it up without taking away from the body.

Overall, this was a very nice ale and I would recommend it.

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

From batch 45. Just one away from 46, which is aged on oak. These must not be out yet.
Poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalice x2.

A= Yellow-gold, effervescent, and maintained a rocky head leaving "belgian lace".

S= Spices such as cloves and pepper dominate. Some fruity-citrus notes. A lot more complex than my nose can handle in this allergy season.

T= Peppery and bitter. Dry bitter aftertaste.

M= Light and carbonated well.

D= Very drinkable if you're looking for a complex yet light beer. It is not completely in the "refreshing" category, but who needs that unless you're sitting around watching the game and munching on chips and guac.

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

The color when poured was light golden yellow with very little foam, but, a fair amount of lace on the side of the glass. The smell was sort of a sweet fruity aroma. The taste had a sweet/bitter carbonation on the palate with a good malt flavor with a hint of citrus. Not a lot of favor on the aftertaste, just the taste of bitterness at the finish!

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

Review #100!

750mL bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Golden-hued body with lively carbonation and a solid, three finger bone white head. Beautiful lacing all the way down the glass.

S - Aromatic with toast, an earthy funkiness, herbal hops.

T - Bready malt, lemon, orange zest, honey, rosemary, bay leaf.

M - Light body, soft, lively and effervescent.

D - Dangerously drinkable. Each sip demands another so I can see what comes next.

Photo of jacobseyb
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A=Golden slightly murky, 3 fingers of head

S=Sweet fruitiness, hints of orange,

T=Similar to smell, virtually no aftertaste

M=Nice carbonation some initial thickness, fluffy

D=Very drinkable, this may be come a favorite of mine, i really enjoyed it and the alcohol is not so prevalent to mask the other characteristics.

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

Bottle into chalice, batch 041.

Pours hazy gold, with a big, fluffy white head. Effervescent.

Nose is yeasty, a bit of pear and apricot, with a creamy sweetness underneath.

Flavor is front-loaded with a big yeast presence - tangy and a bit dry, banana comes through, with golden fruit notes coming out as well. Some candy sugar sweetness. Finish dries up a bit more, some more yeast, some alcohol esters as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and soft, but with a bit of crispness, medium bodied. Really nice beer - one of those that gets better the farther into the bottle you get. Well rounded if not spectacular.

Photo of twelvsies
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmm, this beer is lovely. So soft and fluffy. Really nice balance of that Belgian sweetness and a nice, crisp golden ale. I think this beer is more of a borderline tripel, it has that nice body to it. A dry, herbal hop profile gives it that distinguishing uniqueness though. Still the pleasant sweetness is what dominates here. So much character, with out too many flavors in the way, really allows the Belgian yeast to do all the talking here. Sooo soft again on palate, so smooth. Supple.

Note: while this beer is listed at 7% on the website it says 7.75% right on the label...

Photo of IgnatiusReilly
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into snifter.

Clear golden color, some chill haze that clears up quickly, steady center bubble stream. Pure white head, 2 fingers thick that settles to a thin coat after a minute or two. Really good looking beer.

Slightly fruity aroma, some yeast, but mostly citrus, orange.

Smooth clean taste. Vanilla and pepper, some banana. Less sweet than I would have anticipated. And very dry, especially in the finish.

Very crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Easy to drink.

I think this beer is good, not great (except for its appearance). It's much more dry than I would have thought for a Belgian Strong Ale (maybe that's where the Pale part comes in). It's very smooth and easy to drink, but it doesn't have that pop I was hoping for.

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

Got one from batch 42, brewed in July/Aug of last year, per their site.

Poured at around fiddy-five degrees into Duvel glass. Huge 4 finger white head, with relatively clear, golden yellow color, and plenty of visible carbonation.

Smell was quite nice, with sweetness of ripe bananas, and a little pear n' pepper.

Smell blended nicely into the taste, with more of the pepper coming thru than the sweet fruit. As it warmed, it took on somewhat of a smokey quality, too.

Relatively crisp bite up front, and pretty smooth mouthfeel rounding things out.

I found it to be quite high on the drinkability meter. Sign me up for another! ... even if it is a $14 bottle around here.

Photo of SirChugsAlot
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another gem from russian river...

Pours a hazy golden yellow color with a wonderful white head which takes a while to fade and leaves some nice lacing around my chimay goblet

Smell is sweet, malty, fruity and a bit funky

Taste is of cloves and banana a mixture of spices and some funk

Mouth is smooth and the head gives it a nice frothy feeling. nicely carbonated

Drink is pretty high. If given the chance i might pick up another bottle

Photo of Jerico
4.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this from a bottle into a Westvleteren goblet.

A - pours light and airy and slightly cloudy, a bit of a golden/peachy color. Head is about 2 fingers, nice and puffy.

S - smell is light, fruity (banana and spice) and sweet. This one is hard to resist!

T/M/D - yum! Tastes like it smells - light and slightly fruity, and candy sugar sweet but not overly so. A bit of a malty taste up front, and delicate hoppy bitterness in the back. Fantastic. I'd write more but this one is calling for my attention!

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a hazy honey color and a modest head that re-forms with a swirl and leaves nice swathes of lace

Smell: Banana and bubblegum, apple and pear, and a smidge of clove

Taste: Opens with banana and clove flavors, with the apple/pear underneath; white pepper arrives by mid-palate; after the swallow, the clove and pepper join with some lemony hops to provide a balanced finish

Mouthfeel: Mediun to full body with buoyant carbonation

Drinkability: Nicely balanced and a spicy, hoppy example of the style; very nice

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this courtesy of route66pubs - thanks!

Pours a hazy yellow-orange color with a one-finger white head. The head slowly dissipates into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of pears, citrus fruits, and light spices. There are hints of Belgian candi sugar that waft out every now and then as well.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The spices carry a bit more weight, though they still take a backseat to the fruit flavors. A mild candi sugar sweetness carries on until the end of the sip.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness and solid carbonation that make it go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I finished off what I had fairly quickly and could drink a lot of these outside on a summer day.

Overall this is certainly a very good staple of RR. Worth a shot.

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

Pours cloudy peachy yellow with huge white bubbly head. Very sticky, leaving lots of lacing. Smell - sweet and fruity, yeasty, slightly hoppy. Very nice. Taste - a bit wheaty upfont, followed by fruity sweetness, very rich maltiness, finishes a bit dry and bitter. Extremely balanced beer, very drinkable for ABV, rich and creamy. Very smooth. Very enjoyable.
Great stuff!

Photo of ThirdLap
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split with BA Macktbone and six others at an informal tasting at his place. Served in a Chimay goblet at about 55°F.

Damnation pours a murky slightly-dark yellow with a big off-white head. After receding, a chunky thin head remains, revealing lots of lacing. Some sediment noted.

The nose is citrus fruits, spices, bread, with a slight sour funk edge.

Taste is sweet... lighter fruits and vanilla, with a hint of spices. Nothing is too 'in-your-face', making for huge drinkability.

Carbonation is medium to high, with a velvety medium-bodied mouthfeel. The finish is clean and soft.

A solid example of the style.

Photo of Risser09
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008 bottling

Appearance: Pours a clear golden yellow with a 1" tall ivory head. Bubbles flow to the surface from the bottom. There is great retention and spidery lace. The pillowy head just won't dissipate.

Smell: Light, funky, airy, pale malt, yeast and faint hops. Slight sour apple mixes with pale malt and a mineral aroma slides in as well.

Taste: Light and airy funk from brett makes it's way into the beer. A slight wheat flavor that is kind of sweet. Slightly boozy. A little bit of wood tannin from the oak aging.

Mouthfeel: Light, airy, a bit boozy and lots of frothy carbonation. An excellent beer in the mouth.

Drinkability: Very nice. you could drink quite a few of the 750s alone. Russian River almost never disappoints. Not even close to a clunker in the bunch. Very good.

Photo of beertunes
3.25/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

After years of hearing about RRs beers, we've recently started seeing them in stores up here in the Fourth Corner. Let's see if they live up to their reputation, shall we? Poured into chalice. Poured a clear, bright golden-yellow. Poured with about an inch of bright white head that quickly settled into a thin solid layer that stuck around for the duration. A moderate amount of lacing. A fairly high level of carbonation (which is apparently an issue with some RR brews). A nicely subtle spice and fruit aroma. The typical spicyness of this style is quick on the tongue, with a slight clove note on the finish. The body is light and refreshing as usual for the style. Nicely drinkable. While not on on the level of Chimay White or Duvel, this is an acceptable version of this style which I will probably try again. Overall an average example of this style.

Photo of JBogan
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear pale gold which looks like any American Macro. However, it has a nice thick white crown which remains forever and leaves a good thick sheet of lacing.

The aroma is quite fruity with a bit of grassiness. Lemon plays a large part.

Taste is a very pleasant mix of citrus and banana and spices. Really well balanced and fresh. Very impressive.

Mouthfeel was about as good as it gets. Medium body with a perfect smoothness along with just the right amount of carbonation. Well done.

Never had this before, but I knew this beer was supposed to be good when I bought it. it didn't disappoint. I'm a big Belgian fan, but pretty much every American beer I've ever had which attempted to be a Belgian style was just a pale imitation. Not this one. I'll certainly revisit it again. An excellent brew from our friends out West.

Photo of madtowndmb1
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brownish color with no head.

S: Not as much as I expected! Not alot of funk, more mellow than I wanted. Got alot herbs and lemon. Reminded me of a tea more than a wild ale.

T: Tasted like a little funky tea! There's a touch of a bit right away. The to a spice and lemon and fruit travel along the tongue.

M: Smooth and easy to drink. Not very thick at all.

D: I liked it but R.R. has better that you can get, but good!

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,309 ratings.