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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,088 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,088
Hads: 3,507
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 8.01%
Wants: 396
Gots: 856 | FT: 52
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,088 | Hads: 3,507
Photo of KTeamLSU
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass

A: Nice hazy straw color with a nice foaming half finger fluffy white head that lasted for most of the tasting.

S: Bready yeast up front made me guess saison in a blind test with a faint citrus smell...

T: Nice smooth malt with apples... more than that a mild apple cider flavor.. .was a nice brew

M; nice medium carbonation, and smooth going down

O: Solid beer from RR, very sessionable with a nice apple back. Would definitely buy again. (489 characters)

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

Pours translucent gold with 1/2 inch of off-white head that remains as a thick cap on top and leaves spotty lace.

Smell is of earthy yeast, faint apricot, pear and a hint of spice.

Taste is somewhat bready up front with a slightly fruity (pear and apricot) finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation. A steady stream of tiny bubbles rises from the bottom throughout the drink down.

Crisp and refreshing with tasty faint fruit flavor. Solid across the board. (479 characters)

Photo of constantine_272
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a hazy golden color with a rich silky yellow foam. High carbonation provides fast replenishment large of large bubbles while tiny sticky bubbles hung around a long time.

S: Heavy on yeast and a definite alcohol kick. Sweet with golden raisin. Banana. Dash of pineapple but not as sweet. Mild spice of nutmeg.

T: Sweetness starts with banana papaya and passion fruit. Sweetness mellows out with nutmeg, cloves, pistachio and yeasty alcohol. An aftertaste of rich and buttery zucchini, and banana bread and pie crust lingers finishing with a slightly dry saltiness.

M: Not overly viscous, but plenty of substance. Long oily and buttery aftertaste that lingers long reminiscent of fatty baked goods.

O: Awesome. Full flavor but smooth and mellow at the same time. The main thing I wanted out of this beer was just a little more sour on the finish. Just enough to finish off the full rich flavor a little cleaner. Despite that, still an amazingly well developed flavor profile. (986 characters)

Photo of lordofstarside
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

23 version, 12oz to a snifter. Bottled 8/7/12

Pours a hazy and cloudy golden yellow with a finger of foam. Strong carbonation from the center with a few mild streams on the side of the glass. Retention isn't too high, already died down to a frothy ring. Lacing's thick though not the best

Smells of strong slightly tart funk, lemon grass, honey, apricot, and alcohol. Not too crazy complex, but enough going on to be interesting

Taste is somewhat with the nose- lemon grass, apricot, lots of yeasty funk and a sweet honey finish. Everything comes together really well, nothing particularly mind blowing that stands out though

Feel is pretty bitter and crisp with a light/medium body. Drink easy enough, alcohol's all ironed out

Overall not as enjoyable as many of Russian Rivers other beers, but solid none the less. Great buy for $4 (839 characters)

Photo of Erbayd
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 375 ml bottle from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, poured into a Duvel glass. It's my second time tasting this beer, the first time being at the brewery in Santa Rosa a while back.

A: Pours a hazy golden color with about an inch of off-white foam. I love the color of this beer, there's really no other way to describe it other than "liquid gold". Also there's way less head than you'd expect.

S: I could smell this beer as soon as I opened the bottle! Lots of belgian yeast along with honey, white wine, grassy, and banana bread notes as well.

T: rich malty sweetness followed by a slight hop bite. A bit of tartness towards the end. Finishes smooth and dry with a lingering sweetness. I could taste a bit of the cedar & earthy flavors, but they were extremely subtle. I'd like these flavors to stand out a bit more.

M: Moderately heavy, with rather intense carbonation. The carbonation along with the dry finish allow the beer to feel crisp despite the intense sweetness.

O: Complex, unique, and a damn good beer. I'm looking forward to reviewing more beers in the same style to see how it compares to others. It's been a while since I've had Duvel, Delirium Tremens (lulz), etc. but as far as I can tell this one puts up some good competition and has its own unique characteristics that make it stand out. It's also nice that it's one of the cheaper RR offerings, and I really appreciate it when brewers use these awesome 375 ml corked bottles, so bonus points for that. (1,488 characters)

Photo of brewtus
4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- poured into a tulip, pours slightly hazy dark yellow with a single finger white head
S- sweet dark fruit, as well as citrus fruit,belgian yeast, peppercorn, collection of spices
T- starts with a cedar taste as it says on the label, dark fruit and lemon and some banana, slight dark hop flavor, slightly sweet, nice spice flavors
M- fairly full bodied, not a ton of carbonation
O- very solid, a lot of the cedar flavor, pretty complex mixture of fruit, hops, grain, and spices. Not what I expected from a belgian golden ale, but better. (539 characters)

Photo of BB1313
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 4/22/13. 375ML cork & caged bottle poured into a wine glass. Pours a light golden with amazing clarity; fluffy eggshell white head that slowly fades and leaves great lacing and retention. The aromas are full of sweet malts and yeast. There's also a nice amount of green apple and pear. Somewhat grainy. Flavors have subtle spice notes. There's a decent amount of citrus. I'm picking up some lemon zest. Solid earthiness with a very subtle hop bitterness. Hints of white grapes. More green apple and pear juice. Mouthfeel is wonderful. It feels like it's on the heavier side of medium-bodied; great active carbonation with a fluffy creaminess. Very smooth. Alcohol goes unnoticed. This is a pretty fun beer to drink.

The craftsmanship is what really sells this beer and takes it to the next level. Great stuff. (821 characters)

Photo of MoorBeerPlz
4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into my Ballast Point tulip...

Pours a hazy golden color with fine carbonation and about a 1 finger head that took its time receding. When it did recede, left thick foam lacing, a foam cap and lots of stick foam on the sides of the glass. Nice.

On the nose, yeast, hops, fruit, a floral scent. While not a spectacular description here, it's what comes to mind... I was too eager to move on to the tasting part I think.

A little hops, the yeast, a sour note, fruits (citrus, apricot) and some spice (pepper, coriander). Nicely balanced and no single taste/sensation overpowers another while drinking this. The first word that came to me while tasting was "wow!".

Smooth, medium mouthfeel. Dry finish with a combination of bittterness, sourness, spice. Nice amount of carbonation.

Overall a damn nice, drinkable beer that is real pleasure to drink. Totally understand how it achieved its rating and the comments I have read. Great job RR!

Cheers! (975 characters)

Photo of ColdWaffles
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.68 oz bottle into... A Stella Artois glass at the Bottle Shop in Philadelphia. From notes about a month ago.

Pours slightly hazy gold color with a steady white head 4.5/5

Very yeasty scent with a nice hint of hops. 4.5/5

Not always a big white fan, but I really like this. Very well balanced yeasty, hoppy ale with a nice dash of spice. 4.75

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with substantial carbonation. 4.25

Overall, it's very deserving of its reputation. 4.5 (463 characters)

Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled poured into snifter glass. Pours a hazy lemony color with nice white head, quickly dissipated. Smells of Belgian yeast, fruit, pepper, spicy hops. Taste is wonderful. Lots of fruit, pear, apple, classic Belgian yeast taste, spice notes, and pepper. Mouthfeel was medium, nice creamy texture and the carbonation was decent. Overall, this is a great representation of the Belgian Strong Pale Ale style by an American brewery, very well done. (447 characters)

Photo of tmm313
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Slightly hazy, light golden color. Nice streaming bubbles. 1 finger, super creamy head. It dissipated kind of quickly, but retained awesome lacing. It coated the entire side of the glass when agitated and held on tight.

Smell: Creamy yeast, pear, peach, apple, flowers, a little bit of caramel, and just a touch of pepper.

Taste: Each drink is a slightly different experience. Belgian yeast, pear, peach, apple, sweet flowers, and malty dark fruit all mingle around almost independently. The finish is both sweet and piney with coriander and a lingering soft peppery warmth. Slightly sour.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with medium body. Carbonation is light and almost effervescent - reminded me of champagne. Dry finish with nice warmth from pepper.

Overall: This is a really good beer. I like it more than Duvel and a little less than Delerium Tremens. Its definitely better as it warms. The flavors really begin to move and mix together wonderfully. (963 characters)

Photo of Jas45678
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375 ml bottle into snifter

Pours a golden straw color with a small white head. Smell is citrusy, pear and pineapple. Taste has a touch of sweetness and tartness with some the citrus flavors, a little dry. Lighter bodied with good carbonation. Overall a very enjoyable beer. (274 characters)

Photo of Rajasbrewing
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Popped the cork and lots of pressure medium to high carbonation.

Slightly hazy straw to golden color, yeasty, funky and pilsen malt aroma.

Flavor has some tartness mixed with a lot fruit pear, apple and some pineapple/ester.

Dry finish similar to champagne but has a nice mouth feel, not thin like some dry beers. (356 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.34/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours slightly cloudy yellow with a fluffy white one finger head. Straw and yeast funk aroma. Flavor of straw, yeast, but of spice, and some hints of sweet pear or honey. Strange dry finish. Light bodied and easy drinking with prickly carbonation. I really wasn't a huge fan of this. There was something that seemed off in the flavor, and perhaps I'll have to try again some other time as maybe I got a bad bottle. (422 characters)

Photo of BWED
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into what looked like a hybrid between a teku and a tulip glass, at Strangelove's, Philly.

A- Pale golden yellow haze of a body, with a light, nearly wispy, white head. Well retained. Beautifully showcased in the glass.

S- Yeasty up front. A bit of booze aroma, but the distinct Belgian spiciness and subtle citrus notes overcome.

T- A light sweetness comes out with yeast and spice. Tangy light fruit character as well.

M- Light body, with a tangy crisp finish. Pleasant.

O- This is a good beer. It's got great characteristics, but as far as Russian River goes for me so far, nothing has stuck out much. The big rare brews they have aren't common in my area, so maybe that's why I'm missing the hype of RR. (719 characters)

Photo of MNishCT77
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12.68 oz. bottle purchased in May 2013 in San Francisco, bottled on 1/8/13, poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 10/3/13 over an hour.

A: 3/3 - golden coloration, minor clarity (can see but not read through through), frothy eggshell head settles into a 1-2 finger head, carbonation just pouring off the bottom of the glass (bottle conditioned)

S: 9/12 - lemon, curaco orange peel, coriander

T: 16/20 - on the anterior tongue, most of the flavors are clean Belgian with a mild tartness, in the middle of the mouth, there's some spicy Noble hop aromas and mild sweetness; the alcohol is present but certainly not overwhelming; finishes dry with minimal aftertaste

M: 4/5 - moderate bodied and appropriately carbonated for a Belgian golden strong ale (bottle conditioned); really nice dry, crisp finish that doesn't linger at all

O: 8/10 - solid Belgian golden strong that's another excellent offering from Russian River; it's good but I don't think that it's as good as some of the best examples of the style, e.g. Duvel, Don de Dieu and Delirium Tremens

TOTAL = 40/50 (1,072 characters)

Photo of jhawth
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a goblet/snifter from a corked and caged 375ml bottle. Pours a cloudy rich golden straw with a foamy two-finger head. Solid retention.

Aroma: Fruity and spicy notes, subtle banana, some fresh grains. Some mild spiciness perceptible as the beer warms.

Taste: Sweet and spicy, but the flavors are beguilingly subtle, and blend together very effectively. Alcohol is not noticeable, unlike some in this style. Slight (very slight) tartness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and very smooth, eminently drinkable. If it were't the price tag, I could drink more than a few of these.

Overall: Excellent, easily drinkable, well put together beer in this style. Lower in alcohol and slightly less harsh then some other examples. (751 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured minimal head on a clear, straw colored body.
The aroma is wonderful: apple, pear, dry grain and barnyard.
The taste is full of fruit: apple and pear again. There's a sour note middle to end and some lemon bitterness too. Nicely balanced.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
Enjoyable. (304 characters)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml C&C bottle poured into a Tired Hands wine glass

A: Pours an hazy apricot orange color with a finger of fizzy white head. Retention and lacing are below average.

S: Dried apricot is the most prevalent aroma. A bit of peppercorn and clove as well.

T: The flavor is very similar to the aroma. Again, the dried apricot is strong with a nice, yet subtle spiciness behind it.

M: A bit on the thick side for the style with strong carbonation. Very nice.

O: Fruity, spicy, well balanced. I enjoyed this. The more I drank it, the more I liked it. (548 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a hzy gold with a nice fat white head of foam that fell pretty fast. Left nice lace a cap and ring. Bubbles rising up from the bottom but not in an effervescing stream. These are lazy bubbles.

Nose is grass, fresh with citrus and grain plus a nice spicy yeast and scent of coriander. Pale, biscuit and lemon. Subtle nad mellow ont he nose. As it warms it gains a little peach and some apricot. There is no alcohol on the nose.

Taste is the citrus with a little lemon zest for sweetness, the light peach and apricot. Juicy and smooth. Very mellow. So light with it's pale grains that deepen as it warms to a really fantastic roundness on the tongue. Faint hop bitter that is very retrained but adds pleasantly to the mouthfeel. The grain is rich and there is a little earthy dryness. Mineral qualities soften the mouthfeel. The spice is the perfect accent to the fruits.

You would think that with a name like damnation it would be roiling. Shouting from the depths or something with all kinds of strong flavors clamoring. It is the exact opposite of that. It's depth is in the grain and how that sweetens fully and naturally and without any sugary quality showing that the earth is deep and golden in it's nature. Drinks easily and it's only flaw is that there isn't more fruit sweetness in the finish. But, even that fits the concept of damnation as it leaves a bit of longing. Easy and refreshing. Nothing heavy about this one it has a silky texture and excellent balance. It sparkles with depth and complexity rather than with carbonation and has a softness on the palate that is tangible. All of the qualities are only lightly forward making this one a very demure drink. (1,685 characters)

Photo of StrongAleSkeptic
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: 25-July-2013, Enjoyed: 2-Sep-2013...
A - Pours a hazy golden color with a decent billowing head, settling down to a thin film of bubbles. The tulip glass accentuates the cascading effect of bubbles rising from the bottom.
S - Grassy, grain notes, rounded out by a fresh yeast and biscuit backbone. Subtle, citrusy hop character in there too.
T - Begins with a spicy tinge of citrus and coriander and lighter grape notes, evolving into a pale, slightly-hopped foundation. Little to no perceived bitterness, but it's recognized as it compliments the decadence of the dried fruits from the yeast esters. It's faint, but there is a note of dried apricot, maybe peach and plantain. Decadent and rich with a dryness to keep everything balanced.
M - Complex. There's a higher body to this one with the yeast and unfiltered ingredients contributing to a larger mouthfeel, but the dryness in the end helps to balance the texture. The spicy notes help to further that experience, creating a tantalizing sip that can only be satiated by another.
O - Phenomenal experience. I would possibly put this American take on the Belgian style at the top spot for American offerings. I definitely have to respect the care and attention that this delicate recipe has received. Looking forward to a few more months of bottle-aging the others. (1,329 characters)

Photo of beepill
3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Bottle bought at Russian River Brewery. Poured into a Belgian tulip glass.

A - Opaque, hazy golden-yellow body with a nice foamy head about 1.5 cm thick. Fine lacing throughout.

S - Sour cherries and slight sour apple or apple ciderish smell, followed by wheatbreadiness, musky chardonnay, wet oakey earth.

T - Started off like a witbier - sharp wheat malt with subtle citrus-like and spicy undertones, wheatgrass, and slight bitter aftertaste.

M - High carbonation which is fine, but I think it may have been masking some of the subtle flavors. Slight sour left on lips.

O - My second time having Damnation, and I liked it much more the first time, when I had it on-tap at the brewery. Maybe I should have aged this a little bit longer, or let it sit out a bit to let it warm and let some of the carbon dioxide off to taste some of the more subtle flavors. Nonetheless, it is another good Belgian-style from RRBC. Worth obtaining a bottle and cellaring it for a bit. (977 characters)

Photo of jbaker67
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky gold with thick, fluffy, lasting white head and lacing that protrudes from the side of the glass. Nose of sweet hay, honey, wheat and some light floral hops. Medium mouthfeel with some lemon notes, with wheat, honey, yeast. Really smooth drinking golden ale. (272 characters)

Photo of BobZ
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a hotel champagne flute.

Appearance: Bright golden yellow with a nice billowy 3" head that recedes to a thick cap with sticky lacing.

Smell: Some citrus, more lemon and lime, and some floral hops.

Taste: As in the nose, really nice fresh citrus balanced almost perfectly against floral hops. Very flavorful a great take on the BPA style.

Mouthfeel: Extremely clean, dry, smooth and refreshing.

Overall: The best American version of a Belgian pale ale I have tasted, on par with Duvel, hell maybe a slight bit better. If this were readily available locally I would always have some on hand. (621 characters)

Photo of mikefuski17
4.74/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My first experience with Russian River... Awesome.

A. When being poured, the golden amber was magnificent. The foamy layer of head on top quickly dissipated and left a very thin layer.

S. As soon as the cork was popped, a rich smell of citrus filled my nostrils to much delight. It was not overpowering though.

T. The taste was fantastic. Creamy citrus with a hint of caramel is a lo let combo in this beer and done correctly. I am a Belgian fan and have not had one this, close to perfection. The flavor lingers for quite sometime as well.

M. Once in your mouth, it has a thick somewhat creamy feel and goes down very easily. It is one of the smoothest beers I have ever had.

O. This is one of the best beers I have ever had. Every aspect of it is on point and is simply amazing. Which each sip take, I am still in amazement over the complexity of the flavor and feel. (879 characters)

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,088 ratings.