Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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3,227 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,227
Reviews: 1,074
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
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Ratings: 3,227 | Reviews: 1,074 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of Beaver13
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch 040. Pours a clear yellow with a creamy white head that retains well and laces the glass. The last pour proves it's bottle conditioned.

The aroma is sweet sugary malts, some banana and clove, and some citrus.

The flavor is sweet sugary malts, citric melon with a little spice. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it's not very balanced or complex. It's far too much towards the sweet side, but I find myself liking it regardless. This is definitely a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.

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

Not a bad take on a Belgian Pale.
Lacing for days without having to take 20 minutes to pour it.
Crisp apple and pear flavors with just the right amount of Belgian spicy yeast.
Not too strong or too weak.
Finished a bottle with my wife in almost no time.
If you like the style, this is a great example of how to do it properly.
I don't think it'll stand out in my mind as something I have to have again, but at the same time it's something I'd be happy to revisit when I'm craving the style.

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

I poured this one from a 750ml corked and caged brown bottle into my Gulden Draak tulip snifter. As a side note, the cork was so tight and immovable, I had to use a wine corkscrew to get it out!

A= This ale poured a pale, chill hazed, straw yellow color with a 2" fluffy and creamy white head. The head slowly dropped to a 1/8" cap and was sustained by a constant and significant carbonation release.

S= I was very impressed with the aromas here: lemongrass, apples, pears, sweet bakery malts, estery and funky Belgian yeast, and a hint of alcohol. Superb!

T= Fruity, yeasty goodness rules the tastebuds here. An initial burst of dry but sweet orchard fruits filled my senses, followed by a burst of spicy hops and then that wonderful yeast kicked in, bringing flavors of chalky, funky goodness. The finish was mildly dry, with only a very minimal alcohol presence.

MF= Medium bodied, lightened somewhat by the effervescent carbonation. I was impressed by how soft this ale felt on the tongue despite the high carbonation.

D= From a guy who worships Belgian tripels and Duvel style strong pale ales, I am happy to say that this was a damn good example. In my opinion, this is among the best 2 or 3 American versions of this style.

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

Batch 011, acquired via trade from BeerBeing, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, sour apples, citrus, spices, light malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a burst of sourness but quickly tones down into well-balanced flavors of Belgian yeast, citrus, bananas, apples & spices. There's a good hops presence and a thin but hearty malt character. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sour.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very nice Belgian beer with good complexity to make it intriguing and well-worth drinking for a long time.

Photo of popery
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damnation and Salvation are damn good beers. Russian River knows their way around creating great beer and has given a great spin to the Belgian Strong Ale style with these two beers.

Damnation pours big and golden with a fine head. The beer smells yeasty with a lot of sweet fruit. The flavor is ripe banana with some light citrus and more yeast. There are also some good earthy and bitter notes to balance things and impart that Belgian flavor. The flavor is more complex than I'm able to effectively describe, but I deeply enjoyed the experience. The feel is spot on. The carbonation brings out some bright tones and the alcohol is well-toned but pleasantly warm. It's a very drinkable Belgian with a good light aftertaste and a great flavor.

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

Poured from bottle in to Brunehaut chalice.

Clear golden with a red tint, one finger fluffy white head that looks like a marsh mellow. Light hop aroma, some alcohol. Solid smooth Belgian SPA. Super smooth with a light bite on the finish. I dig it..

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

On draft at the Russian River Brewpub. Poured a pale golden amber color with better than a full finger stiff white head that resisted fading. Huge sheets of lacing with every mouthful. The smell is unique and aggressive; an earthy Belgian yeastiness, malty with a sweet flowery overtone. Visibly effervescent, the mouth is light and refreshing. The mouth and flavors compliment each other. Full flavored, the earthy sweet apple-pear harvest fruit taste is again unique a little spicy and phenomenal. A big fan at the pub who are less inclined to lean towards the more cali-hopped products. At 7.0% ABV, hugely drinkable and a favorite at the pub.

Photo of koopa
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Caged and corked 750ml bottle (batch 41) received from Liquid Solutions. Love the pitchfork on the label and the playful name! Gave this one a slow pour leaving lots of sediment on the bottom of the bottle as the label suggests. Watery Urine-yellow color with a massive creamy white head full of extremely small dense bubbles. Loads of lacing and a slightly oily sheen across the surface of the liquid. Nice!

Smell: Well this one smells as great as lots of belgians. Loads of pear, banana, apples, and a tinge of orange citrus. Even yeast! Yes! I'm seriously hoping for a great taste now that I can smell the pleasant yeast addition to the nose.

Taste: Very soft and well done stong pale ale. A minimal but noticeable yeast contribution helps. This one has a bit more funk than most American attempts but it still doesn't meet some of the better Belgians in terms of yeasty complex goodness. Close though and still quite enjoyable. I like how there is an initial flavor of yeast and then the fruit / bubblegum flavor rushes after and hits your palette like a tasty sledgehammer!

Mouthfeel: Very nice due to the appropriate amount of carbonation and especially due to the tightness of the bubbles. Not extremely creamy but impressively soft which is nice considering the yeast could use a bit more wild complexity.

Drinkability: Not too wild or too potent. No alcohol presence and no nasty aftertaste. All day drinker baby!

This is probably one of the best American attempts at a strong belgian pale ale that I've sampled thus far. Kudos to Russian River.

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

Typical Belgian bomber bottle, caged and corked, batch "41".
Pours cloudy light apricot, long lasting and puffy eggshell white head, lots of nice looking lace on the glass. Nose of tropical fruits, wheaty malts and grainy hops. Yasty, complex, thoroughly enjoyable offering. Notes of more fresh fruits, Belgian yeasties, gobs of drying hops all over the place. Love the RR creations. Only problem is you cant get em in the NY/Ct/NJ/MA/Vt/NH area, but....Philly sometimes gets em....

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

Appearance - Cloudy golden, poured a moderately small head, off-white and thin.

Smell - All sorts of fruity smells with a touch of hops. Pear, apple, lemon, and a slight malt smell to round it out.

Taste - Lemony and hoppy at first sip. Some of the other fruit flavors come through, and it has a touch of candy sweetness. A little clove action in there as well.

Mouthfeel - Typically (for the style) overcarbonated with a light to medium body on the tongue.

Drinkability - Solid, but it won't knock your socks off like Pliny. Still a great brew - I can't wait to see more Russian River come out this way, if and when it does happen.

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

A. Bright gold nice fizzy white head with decent lacing.

S. Lemony and a tad sour with a dash of hops. Lightly grassy and malty with some sweetness too.

T. Sweetness with a tad of spice and clove. Bittering hop hits midstream and balances well.

M. Perfect for style in all aspects.

D. I could drink this all day. Too bad Russian River doesn't distribute here; I would have a new 'go to' beer for chicken dinners and lighter pork meals.

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

Batch 032 into a St. Feuillien chalice

A - Embodies the word Golden. A nice little 1 finger foam head sits atop. A bit of bubbles rise from the bottom. Lacing a-plenty.

S - Probably the best smelling BSPA outside of a true Belgian. Soft fruitiness and light spices. Subtle, yet wonderful.

T - This is just a truly well done, and spot on BSPA. As soon as I think it's gonna get cloyingly sweet, the dry finish balances it out. A subdued mix of earthy hops, Belgian sweetness, a slight malt presence, and a woodiness that pulls it all together. To call this less than complex wouldn't really be doing it justice. For what it is, it works REALLY damned well.

M - Medium to heavy bodied, with a fair amount of carbonation. Slightly oily/lingering.

D - I'll finish this 750ml without a doubt, and enjoy it.

Notes: I have no license. I'm bored. I'm listening to video game music. This helps :)

RR seems to live up to the hype. I haven't had a mediocre, let alone bad, brew from them yet.

Photo of dsa7783
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprise, surprise... 750 ML bottle purchased caged and corked from New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street in Manhattan for $16.00... Batch # 041...
First-time I've ever seen a Russian River brew for sale on the East Coast...
Appearance: Hazy, cloudy, straw-colored hue, massive carbonation with a medium-sized foamy head that soon receded and left a minor amount of lacing around the edge of the serving glass...
Smell: True-to-the-style Belgian Strong Pale Ale aroma, replete with hints of strong yeast, candied sugars, vanilla...
Taste: Full-bodied, authentic, creamy, rich vanilla flavor... Candied sugars abound along with hints of honey, with a nice balance of malts and hops...
Medium-to-full-bodied mouthfeel along with a great level of drinkability...
Recommended as one of the best American depictions of this particular Belgian style...

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

I am trying just about every Russian River I can get my hands on. So far I've tried the Elder and Temptation; what surprises me about Damnation is that it seems less about ambition and more about honoring the style. Nothing would surprise me from this excellent brewery.

Pours a nice clear, pale yellow, with a very active and bubbly body. Pouring slowly (as per the bottle's recommendation), I see a very small head.

Smell is all belgian yeast; the taste follows with hints of bananas and citrus. A bit of a sour aftertaste. Quite refreshing!

Feels a bit thick on the mouth.

You should try it, but don't expect a revolutionary beer. Just a rewarding and delicious one.

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

My 2nd RR brew. Thanks to koopa for trading for this one! I was actually more excited for this one than Pliny the Elder. Batch #41.

A- Nearly opaque bright golden yellow body that pours with a 1.5 finger foamy white head that fizzes away immediately. Cloudiness is thick and uniform.

S- Smell is heavenly. Sweet bready yeast, a Belgian sugary sweetness, tart citrus, maybe apples and pears and a nice floral hoppiness adds to it. Well balanced.

T-The fruity flavors (described above)come through the most upfront with a semi-tart background. A burst of floral hops add to the finish which is otherwise clean and dry. The slightest hint of alcohol warmth lingers.

M-Medium-to high carbonation and a lighter somewhatspritzy body.

D- This is another great BSPA. I really enjoyed this one a lot and am sad that I can't get this in my area (though there are examples I like better). Both RR brews I have had are in the top 5 for the style...for me and I am looking forward to trading for more!

Photo of callmescraps
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, there are lots of reasons I'm excited to move to the west coast. One of those reasons is to finally get a crack at a Russian River offering. I've heard nothing but exemplary things, so I'm pretty excited about this one.

Appearance - Well, it's starting where it should. A nice hazy orange/gold color. A little head quickly moves out of the way. Little bubbles work their way up the sides.

Smell - Very nice. A little orange peel citrus, as well as a sweet candy smell, and just enough spice to give it some depth. Just a hint of Belgian funky gym sock (which is a personal favorite).

Taste - A little bready malt going on. Much more bread than expected. However it's balanced with some spice and that citrus action. I'd love a little more funkiness however. Of course that's a personal taste. It does have a little alcohol kick, but it hides the abv almost entirely.

Mouthfeel - Just a touch thin. A little more carbonation would go a long way. It sits on the palate, but doesn't camp out.

Drinkability - Really high marks for such an excellent brew. It goes down very smooth.

Overall this is a really good beer. This is one of my favorite styles, and this offering is just a step below the real standouts. I feel like it's a little too bready, and I could have gone for a little more booze. That said, I can't wait to try another RR bev.

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

A: Pours a murky yellow with big white head. Nice lacing down the glass

S: Esters, orange

T: Spicy, orange, boozy kick, bready malt undertones

M: Smooth, medium-bodied with a nice carbonation

D: Very drinkable despite a relatively high abv

Another stellar RRBC product. This one is an everyday drinker. Thankfully, the Bay Area has plenty of bars that stock it.

Photo of bkilpatr
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Chimay glass. 09/27/08. Batch 39. Bottle is corked and caged. Pretty cool label art.

Pours a bright golden orange color with about a finger of white head. The head quickly dropped to a thin layer. Aroma is of Belgian yeast, sweet malt and sugar, light citrus, spicy, and peppery.

Taste is similar to the aroma. The pepper and spice is a bit more pronounced, and the yeast and sugar flavors are not as prominent. Slight earthy hop flavor. The citrus flavor is still there, mostly lemon and some tangerine.

Feel is decent. Carbonation seems just a bit low for the style. The body is fairly full and it's on the heavy side. Finish is very dry. Drinkability is ok, hampered by the heaviness. Finishing the bottle won't be too hard, but I wouldn't want any more.

Pretty good, but seems like it's lacking in carbonation for a Belgian style ale. Worth a try.

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

Received from Andysr15. Thanks Andy.

This beer pours a beautiful dark yellow/orange color with a decent sized head that dissipated quite quickly and left spotty lacing on my glass. I get a good dose of fruit in the nose including apples, pears, oranges, and some Belgian style yeast in the nose. The fruit is the most dominant flavor in the flavor profile with pears and apple being the main players, and there are also flavors of lemon, pepper, and a slight hint of banana as well. The mouthfeel has medium carbonation with a fairly dry finish with the alcohol only barely noticeable. The drinkability is quite nice even at 7.75%, and I would have never guessed it was that high if I didn't read it on the bottle.

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

Delicious, strong, well balanced and refreshing. Another great Russian River offering - long overdue here in the East Coast.

Pours bright golden with huge head and lots of carbonation from the bottom. The head lasts a long time and falls slowly to beautiful lacing.

The aroma is intense and spicy, with hints of coriander and carroway with a bit of lemony citrus.

The flavor is equally intense, spicy, and strong with a strong lemony bitterness. As it warms, lovely fruity esters come out - banana, pear, and apricot.

The mouthfeel is meaty, with a strong bite of carbonation that highlights the citrus-like bitterness.

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

A - Really straw yellow. Big bubbled white head. Carbonation in my Sam's glass is gorgeous. Very clear

S - sweet fresh smell. Apple maybe. has a crisp feel to it. Something a little sour too.

T - Sweet and juicy. Some sour and crisp taste. Maybe more sour than I'd want, tho its not a lot of sour. Some floral and lemon.

M - light mouth feel. good carbonation. not an alcohol feel. really crisp and refreshing like biting into an apple.

D - I'll easily enjoy this bomber myself. Don't think I could open another one in the same nite, but I would think to buy more

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,227 ratings.