Damnation | Russian River Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.75%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beerguy101 on 09-19-2003

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Reviews: 1,120 | Ratings: 3,694
Photo of dar482
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

The beer comes in a hazy golden orange.

The aroma has banana with spice. Then onto lime, dried apricot, and sugary sweetness.

The flavor follows with orange peel, a refreshing quality, despite its sweetness. Then onto clove, sweet apricot and peach. A clean drying quality in the back.

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Photo of santomark
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

A - Pours this hazy lemon yellow color, tints of orange, soap white head, poured slowly so about a nickels worth of head. Very active yeast in this one.

S - Spice, banana, lemon peels, orange peels, citrus peels, fresh baked bread, molasses, sweet tarts.

T - You need to be quick with picking this one apart. One minute you taste it, the next it's gone. Upfront you get the sweetness, molasses, a spotting banana, ends with a great citrus peel taste, lemon, orange, very refreshing. Towards the end you get a very nice malt presence, and the alcohol abv is pretty evident in the left over taste.

M - Light bodied, the yeast and sugar content really get the carbonation going, at times it feels like a soda. Great pale ale features with dry finish.

O - This is extremely refreshing. I wish this came in a 6 or even a 12 pack. Sadly RR doesn't offer their beers this way. This one is really unique, the banana and citrus peel notes give it that classic Belgian taste. The dry finish from the pale ale style really gave this a refreshing finish that left me wanting more. Moreover, the star of this beer was the yeast; it flawlessly combined both of these great styles into one wonderful and unique beer. A must try for anyone that is a fan of the style.

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Photo of coriswrasse
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

deep into the flight of all beers at the brewery. this is a excellent golden ale. great malt flavor with a slight hop back. nice Belgian flavor. smooth and consistent.

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Photo of LittleDon
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Beautiful presentation, big fluffy head, cloudy and golden. Very typical of the style. Dry, medium-light, bitter finish. Fruit candy element in the aroma and taste.

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Photo of SFNC
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

This one poured a nice dark golden with a minimal head, even though it seems plenty carbonated. The smell is faint, but pleasant, with a light cirtus, peppery smell. The taste is dry and spicy with a funky aftertaste and a dry effervescent mouthfeel. It has a champagne feel to it. What started as a merely satisfying drink turned into a very enjoyable one by the finish. This is my first taste of something from Russian River and I must say that they live up to the hype on this one.

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Photo of sfprint
2.5/5  rDev -39.3%

Batch 71

A: Beautiful orange color, with very little visible carbonation. Cloudy with little fish pellets of yeast on the bottom.
S: Mild heavy honey.
T: Pretty sour in not a particularly pleasant way. Sour and slightly heavy. Underneath that there's a nice
M: Slightly astringent with basically no carbonation
O: Disappointing. But would be pretty good if the sourness didn't ruin it.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Riedel tulip. The liquid is a cloudy orange with tons of bubbles rising up to form a huge, pillowy four-finger head that rose up instantly upon the gentlest pour I could muster. Leaves a thick sheet of lace down the sides of the glass as you drink it.

Aroma is very Belgian - yeast, dried lemons, grapes, banana, cloves, pineapple, apple cider, light coriander, and just a hint of funk. Plus a lot more that I can't really name. There's definitely a vinous quality to it, and the aroma is weirdly thick, especially when you swirl it around. Really nice and complex aroma - exactly what I would hope for.

Taste hits your mouth like a soft feathery pillow stuffed with bananas and bread (not banana bread), which then explodes with all the other flavors from the nose, with the addition of a spicy, peppery hop character. Finish is raisins, figs, and grapes, with a perfect little alcohol kick. Aftertaste is dark fruit, and incredibly clean - not too sweet or too bitter. Wow - all of the flavors really work together to be maximally delicious. Really incredible!

Mouthfeel is wonderfully pillowy from the generous carbonation, and really silky. Body is moderately thick, but helped along by the carbonation. Works perfectly for the flavors.

Overall, really delicious beer that I wasn't all that excited for, since this is what I got when I passed through Santa Rosa but missed out on Pliny. But I just feel totally blown away by it. Makes me really eager to try some other strong golden ales!

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Photo of TWStandley
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage poured into my HF wine glass. Been sitting on this for a while and decided to give it a whirl.

Appeared a clear, golden yellow color with a modest white head that dissipated relatively quickly, leaving minimal lacing on my glass.

Smells of Belgian yeast, slight tart lemon and cherry notes. Smells quite balanced.

Taste is amazing. Light Belgian flavors mixed with a bit of sour funkiness. I love the subtlety of each flavor. Very approachable and refreshing.

Mouth feel is lively and refreshing. Shocked by the carbonation even after this long in the cellar.

Overall a delicious treat. Blew away any expectation I had. Went in not knowing really what to expect but coming away quite pleased! Yum!

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Photo of Antnego
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Opened cold into a chilled Pilsner glass. Appearance is a cloudy golden haze... Great looking beer. Little to no head/lacing. Nose consists of chocolate, tobacco, lemon zest, with a healthy dose of "wet dog" funk up front. Mouthfeel is exceptionally dry, ropy and sticky with mild carbonation crispness. Taste is astringency balanced with malty sweetness and hints of vanilla, citrus fruit, tobacco and oak. A very nice emulation of a true Belgian, with RR's trademark funk in the mix.

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Photo of snowmageddon
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a: golden hue with an ample white/slightly off-white head. Small lacing that retains fairly well.
s: On the nose I get pear, apples, and honey.
t: prickly carbonation, slightly tart with lemon, pepper, coriander coming through; finish with floral, spicy hops lingering
m: high carbonation, medium-light body
o: nice beer. I don't drink a lot in this style, but it's one of the better versions I've had in recent memory. This inexplicably sat in my cellar for a year (bottled 4/22/2013), and I am pleasantly surprised at how it has held up. Will get again next time I am within their distributors' range.

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Photo of beerbellydaddy
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours a light golden color and is somewhat opaque. It is heavily carbonated and offers a full pure white head and lacing.
It smells wonderful; sort of a clean, yet musty malt aroma.
It has a mild yet pleasant taste, unobtrusive, somewhat dry, clean and crisp but retains an earthy undertone. The carbonation surely adds to the experience, rather creamy and bubbly with a dry finish.
I'm mostly an IPA guy, but this is a very pleasing summertime ale. The name doesn't seem to fit the beer however - it should be something like Summer Shade. Good stuff though.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Straw gold with a slightly off white head that stays and leaves good lacing. Smells like yeast, apples, pears, banana and spices. Tastes the way it smells with a balanced bitter finish.

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Photo of ZachHodgson
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened this after holding onto it for a couple of years. The time just seemed right. It only seemed fitting to enjoy this from my Russian River stemware.

A: Perfectly clear and golden with a light effervescence. Leaves some nice lacing.

S: This beer carries a strong note of belgian stone fruit with some tart cherry and a bit of funk.

T: The stone fruits are much more subdued on the tongue and the funk comes a little more forward. There's also some bright acidity.

M: Lightly effervescent with a medium mouthfeel.

O: Aged well for a low-ish alcohol beer. I wasn't quite sure how well this one would turn out so I find myself pleased this night. This isn't the best golden strong ale I've ever had, but it's certainly a contender.

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Photo of Mongrel
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Beautiful looking beer. Pours a hazy honey-gold with champagne effervescence and a sudsy head that won't quit.

S - Smells musty and mineral-y, with a little bit of honey and not much else.

T - Initial impressions are really crisp and lemony. Honey and some soft tangerine start to come through as the beer settles. Sweetens as you go but remains really clean. Tasty but not a ton of nuance.

M - So carbonated and effervescent it seems to balloon in your mouth, but finishes soft. Great for the style.

Overall, this is a really well executed Belgian strong ale, but I'm not blown away. The flavors seem to be lacking in depth and nuance. All other aspects are near perfect.

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Photo of BeerEngineer
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

General: This bottle was found in the local craft beer store and was on sale for $6 each. Picked up a couple of them at that price! Poured this into Ballast Point tulip glass for the tasting.

Appearance: slightly hazy with a golden color. Head is light white and very small bubbles. It diminishes pretty quickly but leaves some decent lacing

Aroma: nice malty note to this with a very light hop aroma. There is a nice almost belgian aroma to this but it's very mild.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation with a slightly thin body. Decent for a golden ale but on the thinner side of the scale.

Taste: The flavors on this are kind of muddled together. Nothing really pops out in front, but there is a yeasty flavor with some nice malt flavor.

Overall: Eh it's not bad. Not one of my favorite RR beers but it's decent.

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Photo of Ale_Dog
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer twice at Monks Cafe in Phila. Maybe it was the setting because Monks is one of the best bars you can ever find, but this beer is absolutely fantastic. Great banana esters, some spice, and rounded out with pleasant yeast character. Watch out it has a kick. If your a fan of Duvel, you'll love this.

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

Picked up a bottle from the Glen Ellen Village Market for $4.99. In NYC, I consider that a bargain!

It poured a hazy, orangey yellow color with an uneven head. Smelled floral with a bit of pepper and banana. The taste was the best part. Banana, apple, clove, pear and a hint of alcohol. Very well rounded and medium bodied. Great example of a strong golden ale done well in America.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 05/29/13

A - Light orange, slightly cloudy even after being careful with the pour. Nice clean white head ~1.5" in height, fades fast.

S - Orange, spice, white wine, yeast.

T - Sour, oranges, bananas, spice, and alcohol.

M - Creamy with a nice tingle on the way down.

O - Ages better than I expected for such a low alcohol beer. However, I think I liked it a little better fresh. This Russian River take on the Belgian Strong Pale Ale is right there with Duvel and Ommegang. I have one more in the cellar to see if a longer wait brings anything different. Prost!

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Photo of s8bored
3.19/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured out of bottle into tulip.

This beer had decent nose with hints of papaya and pineapple. A bit of pepper.

Taste followed the nose with the tropics and then had a pepper bite ending with the hoppiness. A touch of malts are the backbone.

Overall I wasn't overly impressed with this beer but it fit the category quite well. I would take the peppery funkiness of a Saison over the peppery hoppiness of Damnation.

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Photo of ISmith87
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - 4.25 - golden amber color that's hazy with a white head on top that leaves nice lacing
S - 4.25 - banana, orange, pepper, mango, spices, breadiness in the background from the malts.
T - 4.25 - same as the nose, plus a hop bitterness that's nice. Banana, orange juice, papaya, wheat, toast, bread, pepper, spice. Almost a tart kind of a taste? There's something on the roof of the mouth that I can't quite pick out.
M - 4.25 - light medium mouth feel, alc covered, aftertaste is bread banana orange goodness.
O - 4.25 - not the best Belgian I've had but Damn good. Totally a keeper in my book + worth trying!

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Photo of BryanK
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/18/13. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip.

Pours out dark golden color, slight amber notes. About a quarter inch thick head, crystal white color. The lacing retains even after 10 minutes have past. This beer just looks impressive.

Smell is the weakest part of this beer. Not sure if its just the tulip glass or just me but not too much to scents I can pick out. Light belgian fruitiness, very bready (from what I can pick out). Cloves and pepper? Also a slight mango scent to finish.

The taste is surprisingly crisp and refreshing. Man I just wanna keep sipping this. Major banana and and massive breadiness. That belgian yeast is huge but not overpowering, brings pretty awesome balance to the beer. So many fruit flavors come into play as you continue to sip. Mangos, apricots, pears... The aftertaste is of pepper and cloves as well a good hop bitterness at the end without particular hop flavors. This is one complex belgian that packs so much flavor its almost hard to describe everything it brings to the table. Awesome stuff

Very crisp and a easy drinker. The alcohol isnt noticeable what so ever. A bit oily on the tongue. High carbonation and a very dry finish.

So in-depth and yet so drinkable. Its amazing how RR can craft beers like this. Simply an awesome beer and would recommend to anyone, even non craft drinkers.The fruitiness is insane and enjoyable for anyone. RR has mastered the sour game and is kicking ass in the belgian ales as well. Would love to try this years release a few years from now and see how it develops

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Photo of PhillyOGBeerNerd
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up two 12oz bottles this evening (one to rock, one to stock), poured the first one right away into a tulip glass...

A: Pours a slightly hazy deep gold with about a finger of white foam with lots of lacing

S: Spicy, fresh fruit aromas: lots of pear and grape, a good amount of cloves and pepper, and a little bit of banana

T: Very crisp with a little bitterness from the hops, very subtle malty cracker notes, slight alcohol on the back end

M: The body caught me by surprise: Lighter-bodied than expected considering the nose and the gravity: crisp and light up front from higher carbonation, somewhat rounded out and warmer on the back end from the alcohol

O: Beautifully spicy, fruity Belgian Ale really showcases the yeast. The bottle I got seemed a little bit overcarbonated. The body and taste improved the longer I left it in the glass. I'll definitely let the next one come up in temp a little more next time before I pop the cork.

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled on 12/18/13

A- Pours a hazy deep gold with a high white head that sticks around.

S- Lots of Belgian esters. Reminds me of many hefe-weizens more than most of the belgian goldens I've had. Slight pear, slight spice of clove, slight banana.

T- Similar to aroma with the slight fruits of unripe pear and banana as well as spices of clove. There is also a noticeable presence of hops. Some bitter lemon in here also. Finishes with some light bready malt.

M- Medium, pretty creamy from the level of carbonation.

O- This is billed as Russian River's version of a Duvel on their website but it reminds me more of a higher gravity hefe-weizen, similar to Bell's Wheat Love that I had a few months ago. A nice milder Belgian yeast character in this beer that makes it a pretty easy drinker.

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Photo of dank203
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12.68 oz for around $9. pours a hazy golden yellow. spicy grain on the aroma, lime earthy. really nice feel, coats the mouth, wet, grainy. big spice notes, citrus, cracker, lemon peel, big bitter finish, white grape as it warms. very nicely done beer but pricey and not available in NJ

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Photo of BeerZombies1
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belgian strong pale ale
7.75 ABV

APPEARANCE: Poured a hazy golden straw color. Huge billowy head, with lots of lacing coating the glass.

AROMA: Very strong aromas of Belgian yeast. Grassy, bready and malty. Cloves and pepper in the mix, overripe bananas and pears rounded it out.

TASTE: Fruit and malts up front reminiscent of warm banana bread with fresh ground pepper. Light spiciness and alcohol come through on the aftertaste.

MOUTHFEEL: Very lively beer, medium plus body with high prickly carbonation. Great wet finish that quenches your thirst.

OVERALL: I'm usually not much of a Belgian drinker but this is a solid outing from Russian River. Flavors are unique and enjoyable. This would be so good with some pungent cheese and cured meats.

RATING: 4/5 Zombie Heads!

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,120 ratings.