Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,094 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,094
Hads: 3,546
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 18.2%
Wants: 399
Gots: 884 | FT: 56
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: 1,094 | Hads: 3,546
Photo of Somebody_Else
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip as admonished countless times on the label and cork.

In general, I'm not a huge fan of the Belgian beers or their derivatives, but this is an exception to that.

Appearance: blah blah whatever... honey colored, fairly hazy. Almost zero head and almost zero lacing. Again: whatever...

Smell: a delightful fruit with notes of apple and wood.

Taste: YUMMY! A little cedar, apple and other fruits. And hops. Yes... they are there and they are good. No comparison to my normal hop-bombs, but good. The malt is there too, but lightly. This is a very treble flavor with minimal bass.

Mouthfeel: Champagne: light effervescent bubbling carbonation with a tingling sensation. This coupled with a lingering hop oiliness is an outstanding combination. This is dangerously drinkable and goes down like silk.

Overall: my mind has been changed and I will seek this again. Yes I will.

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Photo of Boto
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Draught @ Monks: Mistake pour: ordered a Pliney the Elder and they mistakenly brought this. It was a good mistake. This one pours a fairly clear, golden color. There was some white head and some lacing. Good hop nose. Mainly pine and grapefruit. Some other lighter fruits and spices also. The taste is also good. It has a slightly lighter body than expected. A little bitter, somewhat dry finish. Malts, spices. Nice.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375 ml bottle poured into a Russian River Stemmed glass

A: Bright golden orange color, some lacing, not much head retention, hazy, cloudy, not seeing much carbonation.

A: Bananas, clove spice, some Belgian yeast characteristics, smells very straight forward.

T: Belgian yeast characteristics, some bananas, fruit flavors like pears and a slight peach flavor, some spice, clove, finishes dry, sweet and malty, very good.

M: Medium mouthfeel with average carbonation, dry finish.

O: Very nice, not overly carbonated like some other beers in the style I've tried, balanced, complex with depth, very enjoyable, definitely going to seek this one out again.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Belgian tulip.

A- sudsy three finger head... Chewy-looking... Cloudy orange and gold liquid... Good carbonation

S- sweet yeast, grapes

T- sweet malt, yeast, wine-like grapes, slight funk

M- light and vinous, but with some aggressive carbonation... starts yeasty and finishes dry with a slight bitterness...

Tasty, excellent beer. Refreshing yet complex. I loved it.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a: bright hazy golden yellow. almost murky (think butter beer) with a large 3 finger rocky off white head

s: clove, coriander, and pepper right away - spicy yeast for sure. sweet citrus, lemon zest, green apples and white wine grapes. finishes with a big biscuty aroma

t: spicy yeast right away, just like the nose indicates. coriander and pepper being the dominant. huge bready notes followed by the lemon zest and sweet clementines. there is a crisp malt sweetness in here as well - caramel more than toffee.

m: medium with a large amount of carbonation

o: good stuff.there is a nice balance here between spicy yeast and the sweetness from the citrus. its crisp and refreshing. nice flavors, but not so packed that it distracts you. thumbs up

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Photo of mattsdenney
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A surprise Christmas gift from a friend that lives in SF. Poured from 12.68 oz. bottle into tulip glass. Bottled on 11/05/13. My first beer of 2014.
Pours slightly cloudy, , rich gold in color with a thin bubbly head. Smells like fresh fruit, pears, citrus, golden raisins, with some mild grassy hoppiness. The typical Belgian yeast flavor is there but does not overpower the beer. The taste is slightly more spicy and earthy in flavor, slightly floral and a bit boozy. The mouthfeel is heavier than expected, full-bodied with a slightly dry finish. Overall, this is a tasty beer that is slightly less Belgian than expected. Drinkable and warming; glad I got the chance to have it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,094 ratings.