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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,113 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,113
Hads: 3,645
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 18.2%
Wants: 405
Gots: 934 | FT: 55
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,113 | Hads: 3,645
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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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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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,113 ratings.