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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,083 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,083
Reviews: 1,067
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 351
Gots: 639 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beerguy101 on 09-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,083 | Reviews: 1,067 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tempest
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 008

Heckuva beer. Golden body with a soft white head. Based on other beers of the style (Duvel really comes to mind with this beer) the head could be rockier or at least have a little better retention. Smells slightly sweet with corriander spice and a touch of fruit. A nice complex flavor for a 7% beer. Pear and apple fruit flavors, with a somewhat earthy and spicey mellow hop bitterness and a nice side of belgian spice. Great mouthfeel with all those tiny bubbles. I could drink this all night and maybe the next morning. Just don't let it warm up too much, this is really in its prime around 50 degrees.

tempest, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of mitchfor3
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear gold color into my Duvel tulip with a towering, frothy white head that just wouldn't quit. Impressive carbonation bubbled up from the base of the glass, maintaining the head.

Gorgeous aroma - sweet and spicy, mild yeast smell that was far from overpowering.

Taste was quite unique - my experience with Belgian styles is relatively limited but this was unlike the other Belgian Stronge Pales that I've tried. Very fruity tasting with spicy undertones and again, yeast was very understated.

Overall, perhaps the Belgian style ale that showed me that I could enjoy Belgian styles. I will definitely be experimenting further with this style and well as with Russian River.

mitchfor3, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of stephendr
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Gold hazy color – white medium head -nose yeast, green apple, bright - yeast, sour apple – champagne body – aftertaste slightly bitter, yeast Gold hazy color – white medium head -nose yeast, green apple, bright - yeast, sour apple – champagne body – aftertaste slightly bitter, yeast

stephendr, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of instrumentality
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The bottle was marked "Batch 007."

Poured into a tulip glass, a clear golden liquid emerged with a fluffy white head that started out huge, then settled to a finger's width with lace clinging to the sides of the glass.

The smell was primarily of malt and lemon rind with a bit of spice.

Similarly, the taste was heavily malty, a little spicy, a bit like lemon rind, and with a hint of banana. There was also a strong presence of alcohol, although I don't think this helped or hindered the overall tasting experience. The aftertaste was primarily of malt and citrus with a slight bready quality.

The alcohol presence made it burn going down, but the carbonation factor was mellow.

My experiences with Russian River thus far have been hit or miss, with this one falling somewhere in between. It's pretty easy to drink despite the obvious taste of alcohol, but there's nothing really compelling about it. The predominant characteristic is malt, with other subtle flavors lingering beneath the surface. I don't see any real incentive to try it again, but I wouldn't refuse one if it was offered to me.

I'll most likely be heading to RRBC in about a month, and I don't intend to waste my alcohol intake limit by trying this one on tap.

A word of warning: there was some serious, chunky sediment in the bottom of the bottle that I ineptly dumped into my glass and then somewhat unsuccessfully attempted to fish out.

instrumentality, Aug 01, 2006
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful golden and slightly hazy with a big white head that leaves pretty nice lace.

The smell is nicely balanced hops and a whiff of Apricots.

Taste is a rich classic Belgian golden taste, but with some stone fruit flavors and a slightly astringent aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is creamy and then astringent.

The drinkability should be higher, but the muddled astringency on the finish makes it less pleasant then it could be.

Georgiabeer, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 008

A: Pour a vibrant golden yellow with a beautiful towering white fluffy head. I have never in my life seen so many bubbles fleeing from the bottom of the glass, this is amazing. Its almost violent. The sediment is getting throw around like it was in a tumble dryer.

S: Bananas, yeast, citrus and spices with floral essences on the nose.

T: More bitter than I would have expected. Has many tendencies that traditional Belgian Golden ales have; banana and clove yeastiness with a rounded malt profile and sweet finish. But their is an earthy bitterness that overlays during the entire process. Finishes dry and somewhat bitter.

M: Medium to full bodied with good carbonation.

D: Not bad. Never really been into the "earthy hops" (dirty bitterness). I think it detracts from the beer and pulls you out of the moment.

Westsidethreat, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of poluti
4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 009
This beer was very carbonated with a bright white head. Thick lines of bubbles flow up through the deep golden orange haze.
Deep floral smell. I sensed the yeast present, like a sour wheat beer. I did not ascertain any tones of alcohol, yet it was very rich in scent.
I found the flavor very interesting. It was very rich and florally powerful. There is a tinge of sour, but nothing overpowering. It leaves a delectable bitterness on the back of the palate begging for more.
The flavors move well. It is not thin by any stretch of the imagination, however, it is not too thick where it would be difficult to swallow.
It is a very drinkable beer, and although I was going to buy more online, I was given more bottles for my birthday from a good friend who had learned of the beer through me.

poluti, Jul 06, 2006
Photo of bennetj17
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 011. Bright and pale hazy orange with a solid three-qurter inch fluffy head. Very beautiful, the retention is nice. The aroma is mildly strong, with an orange and lemon citrus nose. There is a hint of light spice and a touch of smoke also. The flavor is quite citrusy and a bit dry. The malt carries an light breadiness paired with a nice sour bite and the finish has a subtle peppery tang. The alcohol is well-hidden here. Mouthfeel is foamy and silky, medium thick, good carbonation. The first few sips were decent but the beer kept getting better and I was wishing I had another bottle afterwards. Highly recommended...

bennetj17, Jul 04, 2006
Photo of SethB2
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Tulip glass.

A - Good stuff. Beer pours a non-transparent orangish brown color with a huge pillowy head that has quite a bit of retention. Little clumps of head stick the glass as it goes down.

S - Banannas, clove and maybe some alcohol soaked melons. Yep, it's a Belgian styled beer. Nice yeasty wafts.

T - Also good. Sweet tropical fruits start things, but eventually give way to a spiced finish. Bannana taste domintes things, but there is a nice interplay with all of the other nice things that a Belgian yeast does.

M - Excellent. Smooth and a bit creamy, all while not being thick. A perfect amount of carbonation and it doesn't at all finish dry in my opinion.

D - Good stuff. I drink another if I had a bottle.

SethB2, Jun 30, 2006
Photo of StoutHearted
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an incredible beer. It poured a pale orangy-golden color with little head. The smell was fantastic, a variety of fruity and yeasty odors, with strong citrus tones. The taste followed through on the smell, orange and banana comes to mind, although it was hard to pull out one specific taste- everything was well-balanced. If I had to pull a phrase out of my head really quickly to describe this beer, I'd have to say "juicy wheat." I guess by that I mean that the slight fruity taste adds a more robust flavor to its wheaty yeast taste, kind of like biting into an apple and getting that juicy, tart kick. It has a smooth mouthfeel and its drinkibility lends itself more to sipping than gulping. This is one to savor or to break out for tastings.
This beer also has serious dregs- the bottom was yeast city- a plus for dregheads!

StoutHearted, Jun 28, 2006
Photo of vtfan77
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I saw this beer in Westpark Wine and Beer and had to give it a try. I'd never had anything from Russian River before but had heard outstanding things about their beers. This beer is from batch 003, so it's over a year old.

A- Hazy straw color with a small head that dissipates quickly. Minimal carbonation, but some rising bubbles are visible through the murky liquid. Very appealing beer, I don't know why, but it is.

S- Woah, very complex here! Much fruit, oranges, pineapple, banana, lemon, and I'm sure tons more that I can't pick out. Nice.

T- Like the smell, only better. Sweet malt and fruity esters. More citric tartness, sour apple, raisins, cinnamon sugar, and who knows what else. Simply amazing.

M- Silky smooth. Not a whole lot of carbonation, but just enough to give this a great mouthfeel.

D- Well, this is a sipping beer for me, but one that I could sip all night.

Wow, this was an impressive beer! I'm certainly glad I picked this up. I'm not sure if its awesomeness was due to the aging it underwent or not, but I would definitely like to try a fresh sample to compare. Highly recommended!

vtfan77, Jun 26, 2006
Photo of klewis
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 009

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden with a Duvel-like head. Some lacing on the tulip, but less than expected from the pour.

S: With just a hint of alcohol in the nose, the bouquet has a great blend of spice, citrus, and banana.

T: Strong yeasty esters dominate the flavor with flavors of pepper and orange zest. Some alcoholic presence in the back.

M: Dry with a medium body. The carbonation is a bit much for my liking, but not as much as many other bottle-conditioned Belgians.

D: I liked this one much better when I had it on-tap at the brewery, but this is still a very good beer any way that you serve it.

klewis, Jun 23, 2006
Photo of Bitterbill
4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This 750ml caged and corked bottle(Batch 008) poured a hazy medium gold with plenty of foam and lots of nice lacing.

The smell is really fruity with lots of yeasty notes as well...I could sniff this one for a long time. ;^)

The taste is wonderful! Lots of sweet malt offset by a yummy yeasty taste and fruity by way of plum and banana and a good clove presence and this sample from Batch 008 just impresses the heck out of me. I mean, if you poured this son of a gun in a glass without my seeing the bottle you poured it from, I'd swear it came directly from Belgium!

Bottom line: This is my 2nd review of a RR Damnation(first was from batch 007) and this one is even *more* impressive. It's an amazing beer from an amazing brewery!!

Bitterbill, Jun 17, 2006
Photo of Shaw
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Batch No. 3 in July 2005 while on vacation in San Diego. Now, almost a year later, I'm finally drinking it to celebrate my fiancee and my purchase of our first home. Whoot!

It's a lovely and very carbonated golden brown with a huge white head. It smells of biscuits and spices like coriander, very nice.

This is a very good beer. There are flavors of lemon, biscuit and alcohol all playing together. The flavor is also nicely tart, which balances the alcohol flavors. There is also a nice wine-like dryness too.

The body is wonderfully light and crisp from the abundant carbonation. The drinkability is good too. I'm drinking a whole 750 mL bottle, which is plenty.

This is the second RR brew I've had, after Pliny the Elder. This is one of the best beers in its style. I can't wait to try more of their brews. Too bad they're thousands of miles away from our home in Florida.

Shaw, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lanesplitter in Berkeley CA. Very Reminiscent of La Chouffe.

Pours a hazed golden pineapple, rather far from limpid. Head is white, bubbly, and very Belgian. It rises and falls with each lift of the glass. Body bubbles aggressively, ebulliently even.

Aroma consists of ripe Jamaican sugar bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, Munich malts, and citric hops. Nose sharp and sweet.

Taste is spicy citrus hops, banana ice cream, bubblegum, and earth. Balance is decent but not flawless.

Mouthfeel is light and breakneck. Zesty and spicy, it hits your cheeks with a zinger of strength and sweet and sour fruit. Not bad.

Drinkability is decent. Finish is crisp, clean, and dry lending to higher drinkability.

DaPeculierDane, Jun 13, 2006
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy yellow with a little head. Lace. Yeasty aroma, not substantive. Aggressive carbonation. Taste is delicate zesty yeasty, tad of grain, crisp, and satisfying.Moderate bitter aftertaste. No sign of alcohol. 6 ounces at Mondial 2006. Had a bottle brought by Dr.Jay six months later.

Sammy, Jun 06, 2006
Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a slighty cloudy light golden color, nice carbonation, tiny head, nice lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of hops, malts, citrus, slight bananna, spices, and slight pears.

T - The taste is very complex, sweet, tangy, light, and carbonated.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. I love this brew, very very tasty. Russian River is pretty hard to come buy in UT though, LOL By the way this is my first RR.

Wasatch, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of lackenhauser
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice, deep golden color with a huge, fluffy white head on top. Talk about a Duvel clone! Sulfury and grainy aroma-peppery and somewhat spicey. Big, crisp, yeasty flavor. Full of malt with a nice mellow bitterness. Somewhat phenolic. Again with the grain and sulfury notes-this time flavorwise. Nice, full, bright mouthfeel. Very drinkable beer. I really like the sulfury and grainy character of this one.

lackenhauser, Jun 02, 2006
Photo of bditty187
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750ml bottle; Batch 005

When the cork popped a tremendous about of “gun smoke” leaked out the bottle, it was awesome! The beer poured clear, shinny gold in hue. I am sad there is little color depth but it does fit my idea of the style. Massive white head, at the apex the foam was some three fingers tall. Head retention was good, after a couple moments a sticky/fluffy cap remained. Lacing started before I took a sip. Once I started to remove the liquid the subsequent lacing was spotty but well spread. Overall, this looks quite nice!

The nose is really enjoyable. I was expecting something along the lines of Duvel. This is much different… better I suppose… no, just different. I love the fruitiness, bananas, pineapple, pears, melon, white grapes, and a green apple too. Just to add more depth are faint notes of bubblegum with a delicate blend of spiciness. At the back is a smattering of bread and grain but not in a dull unsophisticated way, quite the opposite actually. Moderate potency but it says so much! Soft but ample… I can’t wait to see if the palate offers the same array of flavors. The bouquet is impressive; inviting!

The palate is not as fruity as the nose but I am not saddened. In fact, there is much more hoppiness than I was expecting. It is also not as sweet as I was expecting, damn, I’d even call it dry. Firm but fleeting bitterness yields to a pleasant juicy malt backbone with plenty of fruitiness. Spicy red apples, bananas laced with cloves, some melons, and hints of grapes too. The fruitiness was much more vibrant in the nose but the addition of “tangible” spiciness mixed with the fruit is quite lovely. I like how the grainy maltiness finishes the palate. I am digging the sharp, hot, and yet fruity finish. The aftertaste is a bit sweet but it is not distracting. Actually, the aftertaste screams at me to pair this with some fresh fruit and good cheese. Oh hell yes, this beer would kick so much ass with fruit and cheese. Excuse me as I remedy that…

Medium in body, which is perfect, the carbonation is a tad too low for my tastes, I think if the bubbles were more active the residual sweetness would be lessened greatly. Still, the mouthfeel is quite good.

As much as I liked the nose and palate I am thrilled at how easy this beer is to drink! Damn enjoyable. Sometimes Duvel-type beers bore me. I foolishly waited to drink this beer. I assumed it would be “dull.” Why didn’t I have more faith in RR? What a mistake. I loved this beer. I would love to drink it on-tap and lots of it. On the surface it is simple and pleasant but once analyzed it is complex and delicious! This is a great beer. I am happy I purchased a bottle online from RR, it was worth every cent. I highly recommended. Why did I wait so long to drink this gem!

bditty187, May 30, 2006
Photo of carln26
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured a dark, hazy gold with a fluffy white head that leaves a clunky lace on the side of the glass. The nose brings biscuit malt, bread dough, lemon citrus, and a bit of green apple. The flavor is more intense. Sweetness from the malt lends hard candy, the green apple, and a touch of the biscuit. The hops come across mid-quaff with more citrus, but it’s in the form of orange. The green apple comes back in the finish and is accompanied by a tartness/mild bitterness that lasts. The mouth feel is slick and light. The beer is very drinkable. I was wowed by my first Duval, and became somewhat ambivalent to the beer after that. This beer re-ignited my passion for this style.

carln26, May 18, 2006
Photo of atigerlife
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First, a big MAHALO to Eyechartbrew for bringing me this wonderful beer on his last visit to the islands.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

The beer practically explodes out of the bottle. A huge white, fluffy head presents itself and has very good lasting power. Nice lacting. Beer is a nice golden color with lots of carbonation seen rising. Amazing to look at.

Aroma is of floral hops, sweet malts and spicy pear. Quite pleasant.

The taste is of some balance hops bitterness, malts, bananas, spicy pears and banana. The hops at the end is nice, not overpowering. Nicely warming. More hops came through as it wamred.

The mouthfeel was much lighter than expected. Medium bodied. Lightly cleansing.

Overall, a very nice beer. Not something I could drink all night since the 7% alcohol would have me on the floor. Actually, this beer seems to be even stronger than its alcohol content suggest. Not a bad thing, just interesting.

atigerlife, May 14, 2006
Photo of scottoale
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice deep gold ale pours out of the 750ml, corked, brown bottle with a thick foam head of white. The two-finger head settles down to a 1/2inch thick cap that is kept aloft by the lively carbonation streamers, rising from below...a good quality look about it. Batch 008.

Big sweet, malty nose comprising of corriander, banana, pear and some notes of citrus, as well as alcohol. A very complex smell thats very Belgian.

Initially sweet and spicy, the mouth fills with the flavors mentioned in the smell. As flavors mix and mingle, they eventually tone down to a citrus, bittering hoppy, lightly warming, alcohol of a finish...wow.

A nice balance overall, a tad sweet and spicy at times, the alcohol un-leashes as the ale warms. Full bodied, smooth mouthfeel with a fizzy tang to it, easy to consume yet filling. This ale seems a bit stronger than it's listed ABV of 7%, so drink with care...cheers !

scottoale, May 01, 2006
Photo of BeerRun13
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 007.

Pours a deep rich gold color. A decent size head lasts and leaves lacing all the way to the bottom.
Has kinda' a spicy malt aroma.
Spicy. corriander and clove. A slight fruit flavor - banana and pear like. A slight bitterness too. All of this on top of a slightly malty character.
Medium boddied with still kind of a rich mouthfeel. Flavor grabs the whole pallete.
I poured the last of the bottle all the way to get that yeast in my last glass. The bottle warns against this, but I had to try it... Good.
This is a good tasting and very drinkable beer, but I don't know that it is worth the price.

BeerRun13, Apr 26, 2006
Photo of objectivemonkey
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From my notes on recent trip, poured into a sampling glass, arrived with a bit of head and cloudy golden color. Aroma is pretty good, cloves and toasty malts and a twinge of lemon. Taste... holy mother of... lots of it. Malts and cloves and floral hops and banana and spices make this pretty intense, almost out of control, but pretty good. Can sense the alcohol in there, good body, good beer, though not my favorite from here for whatever reason

objectivemonkey, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4.9/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured in to my Duvel Tulip to see how it stacks up. Batch 006, which I interpret to mean 2006.

Pours a chill hazed golden colored ale with a smallish white head. I can't discount this for not having a freakish mammoth white head; it is one of the few annoyances that Duvel has.

Smell is quite nice and very fresh. Lots of clean and strong floral scent and a touch of honey pollen. Nice fruitiness, citrus and pineapple mostly. Mildly sweet smelling with no obvious Candi Sugar smell. Nicely spicy coriander and black pepper. Herbal to the point of making rosemary seem like a weak spicy herb. The lack of a trip on a container ship makes a big difference in the smell, simply awesome.

Taste is barely sweet and nice floral tastes and coriander. Fruit flavors kick in on the second sip and I start to realize how complex this beer really is. Mild herbal bitterness here is just right to balance what sweet there is here and let all the more subtle flavors dominate. Spices are mainly coriander here and this is too smooth for black pepper to dominate. Superior to Duvel as it actually is in the USA.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Awe inspiring drinkability is in my glass here, makes Dom Perignon taste like rotted grape juice. I could see drinking this all the time if it was more available, but even in California you can only get this when you see it. Well Hennepin and Duvel are almost as good; a lie I can believe after a few weeks of convincing myself.

Zorro, Apr 02, 2006
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,083 ratings.