Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,082 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,082
Hads: 3,478
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 8.01%
Wants: 388
Gots: 837 | FT: 53
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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,082 | Hads: 3,478
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)

Photo of guityler83
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: After popping the cork, it was poured into a tulip glass. It glugged out of the belgium style bottle and produced a bright white head with tiny bubbles one finger tall. It receded quickly and left a dusting on the top and edge of the glass. The beer itself a sunshine golden blonde color with no haze (i didn't pour the sediment on the first pour).

S: Lemony and spicey scented hop aromas woft off the top, mixed with a cider like scent. A hint of booze comes through but not overwellming.

T: Moderate bitterness with a citrusy lemon/orange peel flavor. Very clean fermentation charector keeping the phenolics subdued (which usually turns me off from belgians). Malty sweetness is kept low and has a doughy, pie crust flavor.

M: Very high carbonation and light body and dry finish, a slight mouth drying sensation as it sits on the pallet a while and a bit of a warming alcohol sensation.

O: A gift on a trade and this was a winner! The phenolics are kept in check by the hop bitterness and flavor and its got a nice dry finish making it very drinkable and balanced. (1,074 characters)

Photo of MWolverines66
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a bright golden color into a tulip glass. Has a citrus aroma with floral undertones, you can smell a little lemon zest and yeast. Taste is very lite and crisp, like a saison, summer beer, or a cider rather than a strong pale ale. You can barely notice any of the alcohol in it, and the rich flavor completely mask what ever alcoholic taste there is. It makes for a very enjoyable, drinkable beer. (402 characters)

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

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/yellow color to it. It has a nice thick off-white head that dies down slowly and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of Belgian yeast, some breadiness, lemon/citrus, some peppery spices and cloves.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some yeast, bready malts, some lemon/citrus, cloves, banana, faint pepper and some grassy notes.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas. (567 characters)

Photo of TastefulNudity
4.71/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at the local Total Wine, found in a random box in the cooler room. It should be stated that I am a Russian River fanboy and that's why I bought it, but I will try to be unbiased.

Appearance: Awesome bottle, corked and caged. Just wish RR would ditch the stupid Comic Sans font. Poured in to a tulip with the yeast left behind, straw yellow bordering on orange with a decent sized head that sticks around, nice lacing. Nice to see it doesn't overflow like Duvel did on me.

Smell: Great Belgian quality. Yeast, bread, small amount of tropical fruit, strong banana, clove. Smells like good beer.

Taste: Belgian pale with a kick. I've had Duvel in the past which I didn't like for it's overt sweetness, and I've had North Coast's Pranqster, which was fairly balanced. Follows the nose with the bready yeast, transforms in to sweetness with light fruit, and hops play the back end with a small amount of bite. Awesome.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly carbonation perfectly fitting of the style. No alcohol felt, no warming, just as it should be. Taste aside, this is exactly what I'd want in a Belgian pale. Leaves a nice dryness in the mouth, I'd love to drink it fast but 375ml is quickly fleeting.

Overall, the best Belgian Pale I've had to date. Granted there aren't many in my arsenal, but it's a style I normally avoid. Drinking something like this on a daily basis could change my mind. Personally, it's another win from my favorite brewery. (1,444 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a super clear light gold with a dense finger off slightly off white/light tan head. Very good retention and lacing. Probably the best that I've seen on a beer this light in color.

S - Light Belgian yeast/spice, some sweet white wine type qualities, slightly citrusy with a mild hop undertone

T - Lots of spiced Belgian yeast up front followed by a sweet/grainy white wine flavor, citrus and a light hop bitterness. slightly alcoholic/belgiany burn - overtime it becomes more of a sweet tart flavor. Very very complex and tasty

M - Lighter bodied but thicker than it looks by a long shot (very very light color). Maybe even medium bodied.. decent carbonation.

O - Incredibly tasty, complex brew. Amazing light color, beautiful appearance, lots and lots of complex flavors make peace together and sing cumbaya on my palate. (835 characters)

Photo of CA_brewster
4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pored this beer into a glass. It has a very pale golden color with good steady streams of carbonation. Nice white head. The aroma is very spicy, and has an alcoholic fruity smell, like a cider, and a very slight but pleasant hop aroma that comes through right at the end. Really amazing aroma on this beer. I would say it's the high point of this brew but honestly it's great all around. Moving on to taste. The spice comes across on the palate quite strong at first but gives way to earthy malty notes almost reminiscent of straw. A very pleasant, fruity aftertaste ends the experience. This beer has a really nice, crisp, and dry mouthfeel. Overall this is a really tasty double pale ale. Lots of interesting stuff going on in this beer. By all means worth giving a try if you stumble upon it and this seems to be the easiest Russian River brew to track down. (861 characters)

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,082 ratings.