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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,215 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,215
Reviews: 1,071
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 353
Gots: 678 | 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: 3,215 | Reviews: 1,071 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lightindarkness
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to sholland119 for sending me this, I definitely got the better end of the trade. Caged and corked, batch 20, 7.75% abv.

Pours a nice golden straw color with a full fluffy white head that lasts. Nice lace of tightly packed tiny bubbles.

Smells of yeast and some cereal grain. Slight herbal citrus tart scent. Very mild nose.

Taste lacks some depth, with primarily mild crisp citrus notes balanced with a smooth middle of faintly sweet grains that dry up at the finish with a light alcohol flavor. Plenty of taste, but finishes pretty weak and a little empty.

Lighter medium body with plenty of effervescent soft carbonation. Smooth with a dry finish. Carbonation feel seems to interfere with, rather than enhance the flavor.

Overall a very good beer. Relatively mild nose and flavor. Smooth and dry, it's very pleasant and drinkable. I was hoping for a little more out of this one, but it's definitely worth a try.

Photo of Patrick999
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jw347 for the opportunity to drink this one. I owe you one. Batch 033 noted on bottle.

A - Poured into a goblet. Very good soap-bubble foam and lace action. Active carbonation, gold body with a slight shade of red apparent.

S - Yeasty with a fairly large dose of hop. More hop than I usually smell in this style. Some candy within a pine forest aroma.

T - Geez, now I know why hops figured so prominently in the nose. This Belgian Strong Pale is a hop bomb; tastes like bitter, resinous, soapy American hops, at that. Not much sweetness; quite dry and woodsy - more complex than it initially seems. I appreciate the dryness here.

F - Has the feel of a well-hopped American IPA crossed with a typical Belgian. Can at times be somewhat oily/viscous.

D - I don't quite know where to categorize this; to me it skews close to the "Belgian IPA" category. Either way, I consider it very drinkable. My first Russian River beer is not disappointing.

Photo of robbyc1
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 019, stored in a fridge for about one year, according to the bottle log, bottled at 2/14/2007, comments from the maker - "Super dry, actual ABV in bottle is 8.19%."

Hazy light orange look, big head, leaves some nice leaves on the glass. Looks good.

Smells of lemon and yeast, that's it.

Taste is lemons, very dry at the end, not complex, just decent. Wished for more considering the hold for one year. Very refreshing.

Nice mouthfeel, nothing great, very drinkable, a bit sour...I like this but want to try others from this maker, not my favorite of this type, but good.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Russian River Damnation Batch 034
750mL brown bottle caged and corked

A: Poured into a snifter. Damnation pours a wonderful yellowish orange gold color, with a supple off-white head on top with a good retention level. moderate lacing.

S: some sweet fruity aromas, along with some honey. I also pick up some spices, like clove and coriander. very yeasty.

T: a lot more hops than I expected, very earthy. Very spicy, mostly cloves to me. Some serious honey flavors along with a fruit basket of flavor, like apples, pears, and some golden raisins.

M: high carbonation level. very effervescent. a little thick on the palate, but not too much. crisp and a little smooth.

D: very drinkable, but not completely dead-on for the style. this was my first RR experience, and I definitely enjoyed the brew. solid belgian style, but a still a little too much body for a golden ale.

Photo of dill
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served on draught into a snifter.

A - deep gold with a thick white head which dissipated quickly.

S - spices, yeast.

T - lots of flavor. spices, yeast, and a nice balance of hops.

M - big bodied.

D - a good beer to try but it's not one i get excited about anymore.

Photo of Proteus93
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A golden blonde pour, just the slightest bit of haze in there. A tall head, like left over dish soap or bubblebath... fairly quick to recede, but leaves behind nice sticky patches.

S: Fruity esters, a breadiness, and some citrus notes. Some spiciness throughout.

T: Not as hot as many American shots at Belgian ales styles. Spiciness, but very subtle and almost even withdrawn so to not be too harsh... fruit/fruit peel elements, and a little twist of citrus. Some hoppy bitterness on the finish, which adds some nice finality.

M + D: Quite smooth, and easy to take liberal sips of, not being a particularly high ABV. Carbonation is a little lacking, though not really 'flat.' A nice drink, leaving just a bit of warmth, especially towards the end of the glass.

Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear amber color with a fluffy off-white head with thick heavy lacing. The smell was typical of a strong pale. There were light fruits, apples and grapes with some sweet malt and honey. The taste was much of the same with a grassy hops presence that was a little overpowering. The balance between hops and fruity malts was not put together well. The mouthfeel was decent with good carbonation and definitely drinkable.

Photo of Offa
4.73/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my absolute favourite strong Belgian golden ale-type so far.

It's bright straw-gold with a big, dense white head that lasts a long time and leaves fairly good lace.

The aroma is rich, fruity, and flowery. It's definitely Belgian-ale aroma but a bit more complex hoppy, flowery, citrusy.

The taste is similar with grain, hints of spice, nuts, pears, and honey. It's like Duvel or Delirium Tremens but a bit more complex and subtle, more hoppy, citrusy & flowery, with a little more bitterness.

I've had it in the bottle and on tap, but usually on tap.

Photo of JDV
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rerate at tasting courtesy of Humulone_Red. Thanks! Perfectly gold colored pour with a white head. Smell is honey, and some malted wheat like sweetness for some reason. Taste is rich tart and sweet with some balancing hops and a belgian yeasty character. Hint of dusty funk in the finish. Overall, not stellar but good.

4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A shiny holden orange body shows a lot of carbonation as it hosts a massive three finger off white rocky head. It leaves some scattered lace as it slowly fades. Nose is very soft and subtle with hints of yeast, raw wheat, deep citrus and sweet hops. As you tade first sip this brew has a wonderful spicey richness that is both creamy and bold. i am amazed at the fullness and balance of this beer for a golden ale. It really blows my expectations out of the water. nice even spicey sweetness has notes of cinnamon, pepper, and sweet dough. Mwllow phelonic tones are also carried throughout. A bit of hop presence is noticeable in the backround of this beer. Mouthfeel is slightly thick and ultimately refreshing. This is wonderfully drinkable.

Photo of warmstorage
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle obtained in a great trade with urwatuh8. Corked and caged, states 7.75%, "Batch 030" but no other dating evident.

Appearance: bright deep orange, with dense but limited head that dissipates rapidly, leaving little lacing.

Aroma: fruity estery tang, tangerine.

Taste: esters, tangy spiciness, a deep Belgian earthiness and spice, white pepper, mild earthy hops. Complex and a little hard to trace out, but very pleasant.

Mouth: Moderately full and slightly slick, moderate to slightly high carbonation. Just the slightest bit oily.

Overall: A tasty, well done beer, and one I enjoy quite a bit. Not exceptional in any particular way, but very good in most all ways.

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

Cork-n-cage 750 ml bottle - batch 12. Brewed 6/1/06 with abbey ale yeast, and bottled on 6/27. Instead of conditioning with wine yeast like most batches of Damnation, they finished this one with the same abbey yeast. It pours a nice, solid gold hue and appears unfiltered, but it could just be some yeast particulates. The beer has adequate carbonation and is capped with three fingers of slowly-receding head that deposits lots of lacing. Sweet and toasted malts in the nose, sprinkled with flashes of orange, banana, and perhaps some pineapple. On the palate, it's the same toasted maltiness, along with grassy/spicy hops that impart a mild bitterness (25 IBUs). The beer has a slightly musty character, along with some yeast, a touch of clovey phenolics, apples and a late citric quality that imparts oranges and light lemon. Medium to full body, with tingly carbonation and a dry, lingering finish. This is a beer that is way too easy to drink and quite tasty, which is great for the palate, but at 9 bucks a bottle is a pain on the wallet. Although I haven't tried this beer fresh, I feel the aging has had a positive effect on this brew. Definitely a brew worth visiting and revisiting.

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

Batch 31, reaching my hands thanks to fishdawg71.

Large corked and caged bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip.
Hazy golden, luscious white head with a decent retention, nice Bruussels lace.
I probably poured this too cold, but as it warms up a very nice aroma comes out of the glass, candy, yeasty, fruity, particularly apples.
Full on the palate, it tastes dry, a lot more than the sweet smell suggests, with the same fruitiness and yeastiness, but it still finishes quite dry.
A lot better as it warms up, it is indeed a very nice version of the belgian classic, with some local touches.
Very worthwhile.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Are you into the D-nation? Poured a hazy, lemony yellow color with lighter tan and orange hues. A soft and fuzzy head that was off white. Good retention and lacing through out the tasting.

The nose has a lot of Belgian characteristics. A soft malt nose with some wheat and a light sugar aroma. The yeast is the strongest characteristic with some spicy undertones, white pepper, and a mix of fruity notes. Mostly peach, apple and orange but some fig and lemon as well. There is a slight wine characteristic as well with some esters and grape aromas.

The taste is similar with more of a malt process then the fruity aspect of the nose. Starts with a sweet taste up front with some Belgian malts and sugary undertones that made me think of a triple. The taste quickly changes with some fruity and yeasty notes. Pears and wine-like characteristics come out more. I pick out apricots and fig flavors as well. A touch of white pepper and some brett finishes as well. Some hoppy flavors come out as well. Citrus and a touch of bitterness. A nice blend that gets better as it warms.

The body is sweet up front but does dry out as you finish although probably could have finished a little bit more. The carbonation is a high even for style and accentuates some of the hop bitterness. The wine characteristics are nice and add a new characteristics. I do have a bottle and plan to age, but on tap this is a great beer.

Photo of Floydster
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle purchased at Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles for six dollars and some change about four months ago

Batch 024, says it can be aged for up to three years, poured into a Guinness pint glass, split with a friend tonight

A-Golden yellow color with a slight orange tint, slightly murky, 3/4 inch soapy white head, nice retention leaving a pillow of head for close to ten minutes, some lacing as well

S-Belgian yeast, sugar, tons of fruit inlcuding citrus, apples, pears, pineapple, floral hoppiness, some earthy tones, slight funkiness, and grainy wheat

T-Started off very sweet, then faded into some darker fruits before having a citrus and dry hoppy finish, lots of spices along the way, tasted most fruits that were in the smell but the two that really stood out were oranges and tangerines, also some grapefruit later on, some sweet malt tried to balance it out but did not really succeed, interesting sweet and bitter Belgian golden ale

M-Tons of carbonation, mellow, pretty thin body, long lasting taste espeically when it warmed, hoppy and creamy mouthfeels throughout

D-Could drink a bottle of this and that is about it, strong sweetness would begin filling up my stomach, alcohol is pretty high at around eight percent as well, alcohol is hidden well though, very smooth and easy to drink

Bottle said this was actually 7.75% ABV, first time I have tried Russian River's staple beer, pretty much what I expected, recommended even though I think a lot of their other beers are better, would drink again, nice American twist on a Belgian ale

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

Damnation. The name basically sums it all up. This beer has all of the Duvel and Leffe components, but in a much more aggresively malted, hopped, and fermented way. It's basically amped up Pale Belgian. The difference here is that the balance remains firm and unwaivering. A very tart Belgian berry-like vineous (chardonay) flavor is balanced with big perfumy hop additions and a soft nectar-like quality-- kinda like you'd expect to find in a Mead. Then throw in some peppery spices, basic pilsner maltiness, and fresh tropical fruits (pineapples, apricots, mangos) and folks, we have a super complex beer. Quite dry and warm in the finish with a lingering numbing effect. Not that it's better than those beers metioned before, but it's a good choice if you want more strength with a similar profile, but don't want to sacrifice unnecessay fusals or phenols.

Photo of xymyl
4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Color is medium/light gold, clear with slight cloudiness (seemingly just from yeast due to too much movement. High carbonation at first and a fluffy white head that lasts and lasts.

Nose is full of floral, herbal, citrus, spice and sweeter apple and pear notes. There is so much going on here that it is too much work to sort it all out. I just want to enjoy it.

Taste is at first sweet, then balances to a spicy/fruity middle, depending on what you're having with it (sweet foods) it could really clamp down toward the finish. It has some serious hop bitterness at the end that won't fully express itself unless you are eating the right (or wrong) thing.

Overall: Medium bodied beer that is way too complex to be this drinkable. This beer is dry but the hops really amplify that dryness. But I didn't notice anything bad about these hops, this was super clean all the way around. It has a great fresh hop character as well. I could have said much more about this beer if I wasn't enjoying it so much. They must have used a Saison yeast for this, but it covers a range far broader than Duvel to Dupont to Symposium, I loved 2004 Symposium, but this is far better in my book. Enjoy!

Photo of nbree00
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Has a nice deep orange color with a hint of gold. The carbonation is at a medium level.

S: Has a potent citrus-hop aroma with just a little barnyard funkiness.

T: The taste is quite pleasant actually. This really embodies for me what an American take on a Belgian pale ale should be. Sweet up front with flavors of honey, orange peel and Belgian yeast. The finish is pretty bitter with the American hop varieties really showing through.

M: Feel was some what thin, a little less cloudy than most Belgians.

D: Not the most drinkable, as I really enjoyed the overall taste, I was really full after just a few sips.

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

Bottle from the La Jolla BevMo. Batch 029 - have another locked away, maybe I'll dig it out in a year and come back to this.

A: Poured a warm, clear gold. Thick, bubbly white head of several fingers. Looks mouthwatering in the glass.

S: Smells sweet. Definitely inhaled some fruity esters. Maybe a touch of honey, with some banana and citrus thrown in. Powerful aromatics produced thick olfactory reactions - this is no thin beer.

T: Starts out very sweet. Coming from a stout/porter background, this was a very interesting beer. Just when I thought the light notes were going to be cloying, in rushed a whole new spectrum of hoppy bitters. Ah yes, I thought, this is what gets me everytime with these strong ales. However, in this case I enjoyed the dichotomy and look forward to an aged bottle of this batch for comparison.

M: Nothing spectacular to report here. It felt consistent on the palate. I actually liked it less as it warmed up, but I started it off at cellar temperature - my next bottle I may chill a bit more.

D: For me, this was a moderate-to-very drinkable ale. The alcohol was noticeable but not overpowering. The initial fruit notes were nicely offset by the hops. Almost too much for me, but I was able to finish her off without too much effort.

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

My first Russian River beer, purchased at Cork and Kegs in Richmond VA. Bottle listed as Batch 012. Pours a cloudy straw gold color with a fast fading white head and light lacing. Smell is fairly prominent, astringent, some citrus and banana.

Tastes good, a relatively mild Belgian, very accessible for those that have not sampled many stronger tasting Belgian type beers. Definitely some astringency up front with lemon /citrus and bananas as the follow on tastes. Finishes with a mild earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Might help with drinkability along with a fairly low (for a Belgian) 7.0 abv, but I like more of the overpowering richness that many Belgian Strong Ales feature.

I hope to try more Russian River beers in the future

Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Nice to finally get to try something from this touted brewery!

Pours an effervescent gold wit 3+ fingers of white head. After the carbonation fades this beer takes on a viscous appearance. Hazes up towards the bottom, duh. Good head retention & lacing

S: Intense blast of pears, apricots, pineapples, & a bit of rubber band. Also whispers of citric hops

T: Lemony & grapefruitty hops, white pepper, along with apricots & pears up fronts. Dryness, honey sweetness, pineapples & some citric hops as this warms. Finishes dry with more fruittyness (passion fruit & pineapple), & a great citric hop bite

Drinks easy, a nice American hop slant on the style that doesn't go too far. Complexity & the style slowed me down a bit. My highest rated beer this style

Photo of illidurit
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As with all BSPAs, this one is poured into my Duvel tulip. Hazy gold color with a fluffy white head of 2 fingers. Nice Belgian lacing.

Smells a bit like a wheat beer, with banana/clove phenols. A nice yeasty flavor comes through as well, with some pear and apple rounding out the fruitiness.

Flavor is like a sweeter Duvel. Banana and yeast are very strong, with some great spicing along the lines of coriander and mild ginger.

Very soft and mellow mouthfeel, with fluffy carbonation and a medium body. Extremely drinkable.

Photo of bozebus17
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Beer Truth for this one.

Pours a somewhat cloudy gold. There is a huge white head with great staying power. I left plentiful lacing down the sides of my goblet.

Smells very grainy with a definite yeasty character. I also notice earthiness and some spice.

The flavor is full and complex. There is a nice wheat-like maltiness throughout. There is a strong peppery spiciness from the yeast. The beer is slightly sour and the hops pull through nicely to balance the initial malt flavor. It finishes bone dry and lingers on the tongue. Alcohol is not noticeable.

This is an awesome brew! From the moment I poured it into my glass and saw the beautiful color and bountiful head I knew I was in for a treat. I would absolutely love to have another bottle of this stuff. Top notch.

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

Sampled with oakbluff and fisherman34. thanks to oakbluff for bringing this to the tasting. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a light orange colour with lots of sediment. Not much in the way of head, but lovely lacing. Carbonation is mild. Aroma is light with some herbs, spices. Coriander is evident. Lovely ripe fruit aromas, banana, peach, and nectarine.

Taste is similar to the aroma. Spicy, peppery and herbal hops balanced well by a nice bready malt presence. The fruity yeast character shines through. Super well balanced. Mouthfeel is medium/heavy bodied with a fairly spicy dry finish. Carbonation is spot on. It's a hell of a beer, this one. I'm privileged to have tried it.

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

Bottle from Coit Liquors in San Francisco. A glowing golden pout with a whiter-than-white rocky head. Banana and cloves in the aroma...am I describing a hefeweizen here? Sweet bubblegum flavour with honey and cinnamon. Good level of carbonation and a great body round off a solid brew.

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,215 ratings.