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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

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3,343 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,343
Reviews: 1,088
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 368
Gots: 770 | 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
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Ratings: 3,343 | Reviews: 1,088
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.

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

A- Hazy golden straw color with ample, fluffy head.

S- Belgian yeast, lemon zest, citrus and hints of sweet fruit

T- Yeast and hay, with a lemon zest, slightly peppery flavor. Sweet touch at the end.

M- Medium body.. slight texture. Nice carbonation.

D- Complex but not overwhelming flavor.

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

Had this last night out of a 22oz bottle, batch #3. Thanks Adam for bringing this over last night, definitely made for a really excellent finishing beer.

Appearance: Pours in a beautiful golden ale look, much like a Duvel, with nice billowy white head. Looks tasty.

Smell: Lavender and mint were really present for me, but I don't really know why. Earthy, spicy, and floral.

Taste: It's a bit of a paradox, as it's crisp and creamier all in the same bout. I had a lot of floral taste, with a nice helping of the Belgian yeast's spicy nature and definitely a lot of fruit in there, like plum, pear, apple, and orange rind. The taste is sort-of like an apple juice, in a good way. Definitely, definitely, definitely a Belgian. No two ways about it, and tastes the part.

Mouthfeel: Simple and clean, with bit of the apple-juice style stickiness on the palate. Not bad at all.

Drinkability: 6 ounces in I would've gone higher, but as this went along I realized it's a little too sweet to drink the whole bottle of by yourself probably. Reminded me a bit of a port wine as it's almost like a dessert in my book. It's a synergy beer for sure, where the sum of the parts doesn't add up to it's own entirety, but I'd love to have another bottle on the shelf for a given special occasion as I'd imagine it'd age well too.

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was an excellent beer.

Appearance- golden color, transparent

Smell- grain, fruit

Taste- interesting, sweet fruits, yeast

Mouthfeel- smooth, crisp, very nice, medium bodied

Drinkability- very drinkable, very nice, will be drinking it again and again

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

Batch 045
Received in trade from TexIndy, thanks for the opportunity.
Opens with a spirited pop that sent my cork to an as of yet unknown location. Pours a crystal clear deep golden color with a huge fluffy white head that pillows around and sticks itself to the entire glass on the way down. Aromas of sweet bready grain, fruity spicy estery yeast aromas slight pepper. Tastes of lemon with a slight acidity, mix in esters some funk and spice. Finishes dry leaves a spicy funky taste on the palette. Huge lively carbonation, slick almost resinous in the mouth, medium body. Certainly a Belgian strong pale. This one is a bit much for my taste, but to style its probably spot on.

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

HEAD. Lots of rich white head on top of the light shade of gold for a body.
Smoked bacon? Some yeast and malt. A little citrus also rounds things out.
A little spice, white pepper, yeast and spice. Also some wood character and a slight hop finish.
A great mouthfeel that is both full and pleasantly carbonated.
A Good beer that I will not seek out but will enjoy if presented.

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

on tap at Eulogy in Philly.

A: Really clear golden color. I mean super clear. A minimal amount of white head with a nice touch of lacing.

S: A bit of grain but this was more about the yeast and the fruit. The yeast really took over the nose for me more than anything else.

T: The taste is weird in that it is really good and enjoyable but nothing really pops out. The menu said it was the American Duvel and that really stuck with me and that is a compliment. Just a nice clean taste with a ton of flavor.

M: Very light mouthfeel even more so on tap. Well carbonated. I had 2 chalices and could have had more.

D: Much more impressive on tap than in the bottle which is weird for a Belgian beer. The more amazing thing is all the ladies and no experienced beer people who ordered this and were impressed. It really is a beer with mass appeal.

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

Updated on 12/28/09:

A- straw yellow with a hint of cloudiness. A little foam that quickly subsided

S- hay, grape and oak

T- Sweet, with acidic fruit and yeast that lends a musty chalky dryness

M- Crisp like a white wine with lively carbonation

D- very nicely balanced with interesting flavors
I had this in a 12 oz tulip at South Philly Taproom today at brunch. I think that I got the first pull from the keg. The beer was a beautiful golden color with a creamy head. The beer smelled fruity with a touch of grainy malt. The taste was fresh with mouth-watering fruit, a little citrus and banana, and alcoholic spice. The light carbonation and medium body was good on the palette. The >7% abv was only represented in the mild spiciness and made this beer easily sessionable, if your wallet abided.

I'm not a often a fancier of Belgian-style beers, so I might not have developed the palette yet to completely dissect a beer like this. That said, I enjoyed it, but would not order again

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

Served on-tap at Falling Rock Tap House (Denver)

Served in a half pint glass:

The beer appears a nice golden color with a light fluffy head that had good retention and settled into a nice thin cap. The beer did have noticeable carbonation streaming to the top.

The aroma is sweet, Belgian yeast, very light banana and perhaps some spices and perhaps a combination of several fruits.

The taste is really good. Belgian yeast and some sweetness from the fruits.

The beer has a medium body, rich smooth and creamy with good carbonation.

This beer is so easy to drink, it might be a crime, the only slight downside is the elevated ABV, but other than that, I could drink it all day.

Honestly, I am not sure how much more I can expect from this style or what is it exactly that I am looking for to be able to give it a few 5's. Maybe after a couple more tries, I will have to re-visit.

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

A. Served at the bar in Russian River in a goblet. Nice 2.5 finger head. Beer is a golden color. Slight haze

S. Beautiful Belgian notes, banana and clove spices.

T. Sweet Belgian tastes a bit more hoppy then expected but still good.

M. Carbonation and honey come across first. Crisp finish, like drinking a granny smith apple.

O. Very Good beer. Perfect for lays afternoons.

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

Got this at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan.

The pour reveals a glowing orange liquid with an immense ivory head. The head lasts for hours and completely drapes the glass in foam. Very impressive. A plethora of fruit, most notably lychees fill my nostrils on my first sniff. Bready malts and a pleasant estery yeast add more to the great nose. The taste is a mix of peach, pears, green apples, banana, lychee, mango and even more fruit flavors I cant put my finger on. Cookie dough malts and a very pleasant Belgian yeast character add to the tremendous amalgamation of flavors. hops are modest but not lost in the mix, providing a pleasant herbal, earthy distraction. The mouthfeel is incredible. Perfect balance between smooth carbonation level and creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is completely hidden, its uncanny.

This is a benchmark BPA. As good as if not better then the ones from Belgian I have tried. Such wonderful, sweet complexity that constantly evolves with time. I wish this was accessible in Ontario.

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

Served on tap at Ron's in Exton, served in a tulip glass

Pours a golden yellow with a big frothy white head, lots if lacing on the glass

Light fruit (I get a big hint of peach) and some spice notes. A good hint of Belgian yeast as well. A great nose.

The flavor is really close to the nose, Fruity, yeasty, spicy and a bit funky. A really great beer, so well put together.

Silky smooth, crisp and dry, so easy to enjoy. Drink this all day, every day.

Photo of ryrust5301
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A damn good looking belgian pale ale if i've ever seen one. Bright gleaming and pure gold in color. Just a bit of cloudiness to it to give it a bigger body. Puffy meringue white head that lays on top like a cumulous cloud. Lacing is of an extreme amount and frames this picture of a beer. Champagne like bubbles shoot up to the top, showing that there is a lot of life to this beer.

Smell - Creamy banana, apple, pear, and a sweet malt jump out at me. A bit of clove is thrown in as is a fair amount of yeast that gives it that wonderful belgian aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel - This beer does a great job of being crisp and creamy at the same time. A very crisp carbonation flows effortlessly into a smooth creamy finish. The feel definitely has a lot of life to it. Now on to the taste. Hefe like banana and clove are dumped in with a heavy hand. Apple and pear make an appearance before it gets washed away in a yeast and hop tidal wave on the back end. Finish is on the dry end, which isn't a shock considering they probably used chardonnay barrels with this one, giving it somewhat of a wine flavor.

Drinkability - I found this beer to be a little bit too one sided for my tastes, but it still is a fantastic piece of work. I had a pleasure sipping this one, and thankfully have another bottle I will enjoy.

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

Pours out a cloudy bright orange color with pillowy white head. Leaves some sticky patchy lacing on the edges. The nose is fruity and floral. The taste is very fruity and flora just like the nose. There is bitter hop taste and som spiciness as well. A slight yeast flavor as well. The mouthfeel is very zesty. It kind of bounces around the mouth. Overall this was pretty good. I nice Belgian Pale. Worth a shot in my book.

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

Batch 044. Nose is yeasty dry, with stiff, crisp alcoholic notions, and a creamy maltiness. Smells good.

Pours a light golden color, translucent haze, moderate head. Looks good.

Nice tartness and oily mouthcoating. Soft malt with crisp, well-attenuated body. Spicy and a little hot. Nice fruit underliner, kind of apple/grape. Lemon tones fill in a gap between the tartness and fruit. Little aftertaste as of yet. Background hops are fairly noble with a soft pungent sting that works well with the malt, which is dry and toasty with a soft graininess. There's a good bit of malt flavor and body, but it's surprisingly dry. Tastes good. Feels good. Pretty good drinkability.

Overall Damnation is a dry, lemony, moderately strong Belgian Pale Ale. Good flavor, but it's soft and reserved without a tight balance to tie it down.

Photo of stephens101
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to BitterPachyderm for the exceptional hookup on this one as a bonus.

Pours a murky gold with some orange hues throughout. The off-white head lingers for a few seconds then dissipates, leaving a nice stripe of lace all around the snifter with a few skinny fingers jutting toward the rim. Belgian Strong Ales always have an appeasing aesthetic to me, and this one is no different. Aroma is yeasty and malty with a fruity, floral undercurrent. Some sweet candy exists as well. Tastes fruity and malty with a good hop kick toward the end. Some subtle sweet bread, spice and underneath it all some sour apples find their way out. An almost indiscernible phenolic essence is noted. Some notes of alcohol present themselves as the beer warms up. Mouth-feel lies on the heavy side of medium, and it's fairly highly carbonated, making for a smooth, easily drinkable beer. Nice one for sure, and although there are a few others I prefer over this one, I can't find any big faults with this Damnation.

Photo of david18
4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As much as I love the trappist ales, Duvel is still my favorite Belgian Ale and possibly my favorite beer altogether. Damnation is the only beer that I think is as good as the beer it is styled after. Everything about it is similar. Great carbonation, outstanding flavor and aroma, perfect belgian mouthfeel. The only difference is that Damnation may be a little bit fruitier. I had this instead of bloody mary's this morning and it was a great choice.

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

RR serves up another exceptional brew. A thick and creamy head with meringue like qualities and a golden amber liquid. A deeply honeyed spiciness and a sweet, malty, herbal hopped backbone. A light, yeasty breadiness flows through as well.

Taste is one of the best I've had. Simply superb. All of the nose and more. Like drinking from a honeysuckle flower. A touch of citrus and a mild herbal hops. Alcohol is so well integrated it peeks out only in the finish. That finish was dry with a firm hopping that was not overpowering. In an instant it and the alcohol is gone. Feel is finely carbonated and lusciously smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is lager like. I opened this one up too cold and it was still exceptional. I went down easier that lemonade on a scorching summer day. The only downside was I only had one bottle.

Big thanks to WasTrinkenSie for this one!

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

Thick bone white froth on the pour, looks like you swirled it with an egg beater, lots of lacing streaks across the glass. Light bronze orange in color, not much hue change towards the rims, clear enough to se the pinpricks of bubbles rise upwards. Sort of a "beery" nose, yeasts and raw pie dough predominate, then there's orange blossom, clove stick, apricot pits and pear skins, comes across as remarkably openly knit and airy, very restrained sweetness. Medium-bodied, the foaminess in the mouth is gentle, however, takes up a considerable amount of space before finally settling down. The clove, cinnamon spices offset by notes of sharper white pepper. In turn, sweeter orange citrus met by more sour white grapefruit. Not a lot of esters, the apricot, pear, peach fruit succinct and dry. The yeasts too are dry and not overly leesy and creamy. Not "bitter" on the finish but has a certain astringency which might throw off some imbibers. Almost shy about its complexity.

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

Poured from a tap at Capones in Norristown. Poured into a sampler glass.

A: A nice golden color with a white fluffy head. Full glass lacing.

S: Spciy, yeasty, sweet fruits and a twinge of hops.

T: Yeasty and spicey with dark sweet fruits. The sweetness plays the major role here with bready and biscuit flavors. Some lighter fruits come at the end with banana and some lemon maybe. Floral hops come in the finish. Very good beer.

M: Fairly lgiht and crisp, no alcohol.

D: Very high for a BSPA of this ABV. Very drinkable.

Overall a great Belgian style beer from a famed west coast brewer, and it is delicious. I could drink this on a regular basis. I actually went looking for bottles of this and they are to be had, only a case price was $ 120. That's high, even for a BSPA. If it were cheaper, I would have a case in my cellar. Great beer.

Photo of Lexluthor33
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy,light orange color with a half inch head and thin lacing.

The aroma of hops,yeast and citrus fruits. A spicy aroma was present.
The taste starts off with a mild sweetness and a spicy note. Malts,citrus,yeast and herbal hops.
A feel that was medium but seemed light at times. Crisp and yet so smooth in the dry finish. Spicy throughout with well placed carbonation.

Notes: A really fine beer. Amazing with the balance and masking the ABV. A pleasure to have and something I will get whenever I can.

Photo of rhinos00
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a wine glass. Batch #047.

A- Pours a beautiful golden maize with a nice amount of clarity. Reveals a frothy white head that was at least two fingers width thick. Great lacing that just caked the sides of the glass with a degree of foaminess. Beautiful.

S- Various aromas ranging from malt and hay to fruits and spices. Certain amount of complexity here, just not that prevalent of an aroma. Needs to be a little stronger.

T- The beginning of the taste brings forward lots of malt and earthy tones. As the taste progresses a controlled citrus flavor grows and grows until the finish. The sweetness is kept in check by an abundance of spices that produce a nice balanced finish.

M- Medium to light bodied. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Super drinkable. Had no problem putting this bottle away over the course of an hour or so. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, especially for a beer that is close to 8% abv.

Overall, a pretty solid beer by Russian River. Belgian style beers aren't typically my style, but this was more than comforting to my palate.

Photo of DurtyUI
4.69/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now Russian River Damnation (Santa Rosa, CA) is damn near the ultimate beer sexperience if I've ever had one!

It comes with a brilliant head that
teases you into submission. A crisp spicy golden ale with very earthy hops that's glides over your taste buds depositing their little caramelly goodness.

Make sure it's served in a sifter to get the full frontal exposure of this strong belgian style ale!!!

Photo of GRG1313
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium dark honey color with a thick white head. Lovely citrus and peach nose. Flavors are well integrated fruits and hop. This is a very well balanced beer with fully layered but integrated flavors. A very pleasant drink with a medium hop and medium long finish. This is one of those "all around good beers." It becomes a bit soft and almost elegant as you drink it. This beer goes with almost all food and is pretty universally good.

Photo of yemenmocha
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours luminous gold with slight haze, with generous off-white head that leaves a silky thin lace on the glass. Nose is reminiscent of a good tripel with light fruits, especially apple. On the palate the tripel resemblance emerges again, with soft malt, light fruits again, and a semi-tart and dry finish.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,343 ratings.