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Damnation Batch 23 (Oak Aged) - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Damnation Batch 23 (Oak Aged)Damnation Batch 23 (Oak Aged)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

239 Reviews
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Reviews: 239
Hads: 557
Avg: 4.22
pDev: 9.72%
Wants: 281
Gots: 154 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bosco7 on 07-07-2007

We turned our regular Damnation recipe into a Tripel. It is bittered with Tomahawk and has Sterling and Cascade in the mid-boil and finish. The beer was then aged on new American oak chips for two to three weeks.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 239 | Hads: 557
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.19/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Adam from Missouri brought this to March Madness. Drank another one this summer as well. Looks real nice, a tiny bit of haze throughout the golden liquid, pristine white head, about .75" to it, good lacing and retention. Aroma was heavy on the alcohol, sheesh, this is powerful. Alcohol overpowers every other olfactory attempt at semblance.

Taste, again, I'm getting a ton of alcohol. For being the same abv as Pliny the Younger, this one shows it infinitely more. You can pick up on the oak at least, unlike the aroma which was all alcohol. I'd be tempted to even say this was fusel alcohol had I not known that its 11% and probably just that massiveness that makes it so.

I can't pick up on much taste, the alcohol just destroyed me. Really a burn in the throat as I drink it. The oak is bright enough to make me wonder if it is a virgin barrel. I just can't endorse this one, its primary and final impression it left on me was "damn, that tastes like I'm drinking gin/vodka."

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Photo of lurpy1
3.32/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've always been put off by the cultish behavior of RR zealots, but my first RR beer, Supplication, really made me see the light. Here goes #2.

After corking, the pour. Let's not blow smoke up asses here, Damnation 23 looks like any other tripel/pale. Slightly wood grain gold, not a lot of head.

It has that standard Tripel smell, fruity, yeast, cloves, some funky bitterness in the background.

The taste has me wondering, where the F the oak is? I get a little bit of bizarro RR funk, but not much to distinguish it from a commodity tripel.

Mouthfeel is more like a saison. Long on carbonation, doesn't sit particularly well in mouth.

This is an OK beer at best and to be honest, at the price Russian River asks for it, Damnation 23 is flat-out unacceptable. I really have to wonder what the grades would be for this beer if it didn't say Russian River on the label.

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Photo of mwa423
3.39/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Expecting an oak aged tripel, it's certainly a west coast sour take on an tripel. What this isn't: yeasty and belgian. What this is: Light, heavily carbonated and slightly sour. The appearance is perfect, slightly hazy and a great head and lacing when poured carefully. The smell is light, slightly sweet and sour. Taste starts yeasty and quickly breezes by some malt and it's on to a sour aftertaste. The beer is in your mouth and down your throat faster than you would believe. Mouthfeel is light and heavily carbonated, not what I usually expect from the style.

Overall, very different. If you like this type of different, you'll enjoy it.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.41/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 69.

Appearance - Big white head after a very difficult cork removal. Thick collar. Wispy surface. Golden orange hazy body.

Smell - Bready and estery. A little phenolic. Kinda fruity. A little earthy. Quite oaky. Very odd.

Taste - Belgian sweetness and yeastiness. Extremely oaky. Sweet and estery up front. Doughy malts. Gets earthy and bitter in the back.

Mouthfeel - Boozy. Bitter. Medium heavy.

Overall - An odd beer. A smell I can't quite place. The flavor is complex, but not really a tripel. Points for being interesting.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. This is batch 69, purchased at the brewery.

A: Pours a clear, golden body capped with 4-5 fingers of off-white head that completely fills the glass off of a small pour. The dense bubbles recede evenly, leaving streaks of lace down the glass as they go.

S: Stone fruit (pears, apricot), substantial yeasty mustiness, oak, vanilla, clove.

T: Fairly sweet on the initial taste, manifesting as stone fruit flavors and a touch of orange zest, but it's sloppily covered up by prickly, astringent oak and musty yeast that overwhelm the palate. Clove follows almost as an afterthought well into the finish.

M: This is a rough beer on the palate; the flavor doesn't flow smoothly, and the components aren't well-integrated. Age MAY do this some good, but the equivalent of an $18 (?) 750mL bottle should be ready to go right away.

O: The original Batch 23 aged into a beautiful, mellow, buttery-oak beer. Obviously, there will be recipe variation and other factors, but I don't see how batches 46 and 69 will get there. The oak presence in the latter two batches has been more prickly, spicy, and astringent. The overall execution of this beer is disappointing. At the current price point ($9?), I don't think I'll load up on the next one.

Incidentally, I've had a handful of different bottles, and there may be some settling / variation issues with this beer. I had one that was dominated by orange zest and others that were dominated by yeast. I'm reviewing the yeast-heavy one, but I'd give the better bottles of this a B+ or so.


Original review of batch 46, purchased in Feb '09 and consumed in Jun '10. 3.28 / 5

A: Pours a brilliant, clear amber with two fingers of long-lasting, fluffy off-white head. The dense bubbles give a creamy appearance, and they leave substantial lace down the sides of the glass. Exquisite.

S: Vanilla, pears, apricots, orange peel, oak, clove, and yeast.

T: Wow, much sweeter than expected. Vanilla and orange-peel create a candy-like flavor that is initially cloying, but gets to be more tolerable (though never great) as the beer warms. The finish brings out buttery (but bitter, astringent) oak, pear, clove, and yeast flavors.

M: It feels quite creamy, but maybe that's the visuals of the carbonation -- which is quite fine -- playing tricks on me. The sugars are tasted, which is a disappointment; I'd like a drier beer for the style. The alcohol is quite well suppressed, but then the beer is 1.5 years old at this point.

D: Eh.... I hate to say Vinnie makes a bad beer, but if he does, this is probably it. I won't pay $12 for this again.

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Photo of Overlord
3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a golden yellow. Big white foam head.

Smells like some funky, oak-y grass/hay/wheat/flowers. I was expecting something sweeter. Interesting.

Taste is all over the place. Some sweet malt, some candi, some weird oak-y funk/grass elements. Hmm. Really kind of muddled if you ask me. Nice bubbly mouthfeel.

Thanks to Chris for giving me a chance to try this.

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Photo of stakem
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to both MexicanSkittel and BdubleEdubleRUN for the chance to try this one. Batch 69, 375ml bottle poured into a snifter. The cork removes with a loud pop and produces 4 fingers worth of white fluffy froth. The cap fades back to a thin lacing that is supported by constantly rising bubbles. The brew itself appears a hazed golden orange color that is slightly hazed. A light swirl effortless revives more than a finger of slightly off-white froth back to the surface.

The smell of this brew has a lot going on. First it reminds me of coriander with a hint of lemon and orange zest that is sweet and almost candied. More sniffs reveal a deep fruit inclusion with a bit of earth and mild oaked quality. A hint of sulfur and some spicy clove round it out with the alcohol becoming increasingly noticeable as it warms up.

The taste includes everything hinted in the aroma. Some peppery spice mixes with clove, coriander, lemon and orange pulp-like bitterness. Some tannic oak flavoring resides mid-palate bringing out a bit more focus on an earthy/herbal bitterness. The alcohol which was initially quite tamed really comes out with a warming factor as the brew warms up. The aftertaste is a little cheesy and quite earthy with a bit more pronounced oak flavoring that is raw.

This is a medium bodied brew that is very carbonated. It has a solid warming factor about it and a nice arrangement of flavor initially that sort of falls apart as it warms up and more sips are taken. I think the oak and hoppy bitterness clashes with the yeasty spices and it overall distracts from the experience instead of complimenting it. It lingers inside the mouth with almost an oily feel that mixes with a bit of astringency. It isn't a horrible brew by any stretch, it just isn't quite for me and what I expect from a tripel.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GrandCruDrew for this one.

A - Hazy golden orange with 2 fingers of creamy white head.

S - Oak, slightly musty wood, tropical fruits, green apple, pear and spicy belgian yeast.

T - The oak is stronger than aroma. Wet musty oak, vanilla, sweet, tropical fruits, white grapes and a lingering spicy belgian yeast.

M - Medium mouthfeel, spritzy at first but settles to light carbonation making it a touch heavy/creamy.

D - Not sure if the age has added more oak aroma/flavor but I was a little disappointed in this one.

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Photo of craytonic
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 023.

Pour is a ruby-orange with a big off-white head that leaves serious lacing.

Smell: Not as forward as I would like. Some light spice, golden fruit, yeast and no oak.

Taste: A bit bland, lots of golden fruit (pears & apples) with some light spice and yeast and a some faint orange cream, not much else. No oak, not enough spice.

Mouthfeel: It does excel here, very creamy.

Drinkability: A bit lacking in flavor, although the high ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of Crosling
3.61/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Yellow gold in color with a full head. Unimpressive nose. Flavor seems to have a fairly agressive hop character, with some herbaceous and lemon notes. Also, it's sweet with some fruit-like flavors. The oak provides a fairly nice component, though clearly the oak influence would be more enjoyable, had it been aged in an actual barrel. Lots of heat and definately not a lot of subtlety. The finish could be longer as well, it fades quick. Just seems rough and unrefined, it lacks depth.

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Photo of Dope
3.63/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Batch 69 (giggity)

A: Pours a very hazy orange. Tall fizzy off-white head that slowly fades away. Decent fluffy bits of lacing. Good head retention to boot.

S: Whoa. Loaded with dark fruits. Raisins stand out like a beacon of light. Very strong. Sweet caramel and bread with a little clove and banana backing it up. A little toffee and oak. Does not smell like any tripel I've ever smelled. It's 90% sweet raisins.

T: Huh. Very bready with some caramel. Loads of raisin and clove. Gets spicier in the middle and finish with LOADS of cloves and some minor grassiness I'd say. A little drying oak in the finish with more raisins. There's an odd, all-encompassing flavor that I can't quite place. It's almost like the funkiness/tartness of a saison but not quite. If I had to guess I'd say it's rotten pears. Strange.

M: Heavy and sweet. Lower carbonation.

O: Interesting tripel. Very unusual. Not much oakiness to this one. It's quite sweet and has an odd funkiness to it that I don't usually get. Lots of sweetbread and yeast at least. Didn't quite hit me right but it's not horrible - just not as good as I was expecting. Not a big fan, and tripels are usually my favorite belgians.

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Photo of bs870621345
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 69

Pours a cloudy yellow color with a HUGE white head and tiny bubbles. I did a very gentle pour into my Duvel glass and it still was a long time before I could attempt to drink it.

Smells like alcohol, fruity esters, and slightly herbal.

Taste is dominated by alcohol and apple for me. Its sweet and finishes dry, but it seems to be a mess for my palate.

Mouthfeel is thick, wish it was dryer.

Overall, its not that great. I liked damnation better and I don't need to seek that one out again either.

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Photo of mikey711
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Slightly cloudy golden yellow. Pours a fluffy white head that holds for some time and ultimately leaves a quarter inch layer of foam throughout my enjoyment of the beer. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Initial smell is of booziness, beyond that there is some oak notes, sweet vanilla, candied sugar and some pepper and belgian yeast notes. The booziness is the overpowering scent though an tough to get around

T: The booze is much more subtle when tasting it. Mostly sweet candied sugar and vanilla. Some earthy tones like wood in the end, and a few nice esters thrown in there. And then at the end more of the booze comes in. There is also a soapy taste very present as well

M: Nice and creamy and like many other belgian style beers it has a bit lighter feel. Again there is some present fusal alcohol. Too its credit, it is not overly sweet which helps

D: This one fits the bill for a tripel and is a very enjoyable drink. It is deceptive in that it is not too heavy. In the end though this one is best enjoyed when aged for an extended period of time

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle at the brewery on July 25, 2007 into a thin chalice. I am immediately taken aback by how mellow the oak is. This isn’t an overwhelming bourbony oak by any means, just a light dusting of wood and vanilla. Body pours a brilliant and well carbonated gilded copper with a 2 inch off white head that dissipates quickly to a steady but thin lace. Loads of butter in the aroma like a California Chardonnay. Taste is sweet and boozey. Orange and sweet apples, tannins, vanilla, and a touch of spiciness. Chewy and very warming mouthfeel. Barleywine like. Fairly drinkable. I managed to finish the bottle, mostly by my self so it must be. Should improve with time. Plan on revisiting in a couple years.

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Photo of 20ozmonkey
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a bottle from Healthy Spirits. Poured into a tulip.

Damnation 23 is a hazy vibrant orange with a small layer of head that sticks around well.

Smells first and foremost of apricots with an earthiness coming from the oak chips. Definitely sweet, definitely fruity.

Complicated flavor. There is a sweet fruity apricot flavor and a flavor that I would say is coming from oak kind of clashing with each other. On the finish a cloying sweetness comes in and takes over. The mouthfeel is medium carbonation with a bit of viscosity.

Interesting beer. I was incredibly excited until I tasted it. The taste is alright, but not great.

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Photo of JDV
3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Just another rarity miketd generously shared with us during the tasting. Thanks man!
Pours creamy and hazy gold. Smell is bright, fresh malt with a touch of yeast. Taste is sweet slightly lemony, belgian yeastiness and a noticeable oakiness at the end. Pretty tasty stuff and I liked this better than regular Damnation for sure.

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Photo of DaveHack
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 69....Thanks to Cisco619 for this!

POP!! Its a gusher!

Once it settled down, it has a nice slightly cloudy, coppery hue. After the initial gush and explosion of foam, the head settles down to nice thin head. It is just enough to cover the top of the beer. Slight bit of lacing.

It smells a slight bit like Brett. The oak scent is faint, not overpowering...that is a good thing (for me anyway).

It hits with a bready, old banana, alcohol taste. Hmmmm..the taste is a little odd. I'm not a huge Tripel drinker, but this isn't like most Tripels I remember.

It's creamy and big. It feels like I need to chew before swallowing. There is a bit of alcohol as you swallow, but it is not like an 11%, that is hidden well.

Russian River is my favorite brewery, so I HAD to have this. I will say, its not something I need to seek out again, but I'm super happy to have tried it. Its certainly not bad by any means, just not smoething I need more of.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.68 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a translucent light orange with a full pillowy white head, good retention and nice lace.

S: Lots of spice, white pepper and orange peel. Nice citrus notes with a note of sugar cane.

T: Light oak with a lot of yeast esters. Spicy with some pear and bready malt. Fairly hoppy finish.

M: Full-bodied, smooth, long aftertaste, not a bashful beer.

O: A nice beer to try, I like it better than regular Damnation. Nothing to get to excited about though, overpriced, but not a bad effort in an of itself.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My bottle at Stone Brewing Bistro and Gardens. Yeasty aroma mostly. Starts sweet and then finishes bitter. Funkier as it warms. Hits the style and also funkier than the style. Would be much better with food. 375 ml is sufficient without it. Enormous head.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on draught at Beachwood BBQ. This was batch #69 of damnation, so obviously the third iteration of batch 23. I was very excited because Russian River is me favourite US brewery, and I love the regular damnation.

A: Pours a half finger head of smooth slight cream, slight thickness, and bad retention. Colour is a nice hazy yellow gold; nontransparent.

Sm: Light orange esters. Some hops. Very light malt. Pleasant and appealing, but light.

T: A very complex build for a golden ale (or tripel). Pleasant orange esters, lightly toasted malt, and full barley. Layered and nice. Delicious. Balanced.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but a touch thick. Suits the flavour.

Dr: Very drinkable. Expensive, but quality. I'd have it again. It was a real treat to enjoy it on draught.

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Photo of aficionado
3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Duvel Tulip - Thanks Kyle2k10.

Hazy yellow straw body with a large fizzy white head and fine carb bubbles.

Smells like a true Belgian Tripel with notes of candi sugar, banana, spice, lemon, and hay.

More lemon on the palate along with wheat, unripe banana, and tame spices and oak. Dry and drinkable, but not as wowing as I had hoped. I think I'm just sick of Belgians at this point.

Mouthfeel is nice and to style. Russian River is a Master of hops and yeast, but the malt character of this particular beer just wasn't wowing me. The oak also brought very little to the party. Though I have to say I didn't sense the 11% abv in this beer at all. Props.

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Photo of teromous
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 375mL Belgian style corked and caged bottle, stamped with a Batch 69 on the side. Aged in a dark cool place as recommended on the bottle, and drinking it now 06 DEC 2012.

A: Lots and lots of carbonation, with an extremely transparent gold color, oodles of carbonation bubbles and a large fluffy white meringue head.

S: Popping the cork lets out a lot of scent. I get a lemon scent, some spicy scents...maybe coriander but very faint. I do pick up the alcohol when cupping over the glass. There is a bit of a barn-like saison smell to it as well.

T: I get a lot of grain flavor and some malty sweetness. There is some alcohol flavor in there. I get some flowery taste to it, and a distinct Belgian flavor if there was any other way to describe it. A light earthy quality in the aftertaste, which could be the hops but I'm guessing it's the oak. Some pear flavors in the beer.

M: Despite the ABV which would make me think this thing was dry as a rock, it is actually a bit sweet. The mouthfeel is light, and feels like a wash of foamy bubbles in the mouth.

O: Overall I thought the beer looked and smelled really good, but it was not quite as dry as I enjoy Tripels. The spicing seemed to be done very nicely, but I don't know how much oak aging this beer has actually made an influence on it. I could not know this...it could have a profound impact, but there really isn't much "oak" to it. I didn't get any alcohol burn although the flavors did come through a bit...most likely the aging has taken care of it. It's a good Tripel to try, but I wouldn't go out of the way to get it again.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch # 46 - shared with newtonty and DrewOSU. Thanks to newtonty for sharing (and RedwoodGeorge for the recent trade extra)!

Pops from the cork nicely. A nice creamy, white head sits atop a hazy orang-ish yellow beer. Nice to look at.

I can smell the oak on the nose up front. Moderately sour mix of oak and light citrus, like lemon or tangerine.

Taste carries over from the nose nicely. More oak and light citrus followed by mild Belgium candied sugars. Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation on the mouth. The 10.75% ABV is definitely noticeable in this one...

For my own mental notes: Blindfolded, I would guess this is Brooklyn Local One or a diluted Southern Tier's Cuvee Series One (Oak Aged Series). Nice, but I'm not very into this style..

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light gold with a thick, downy head that lingers beautifully, slowly coating the side of the glass as it gradually recedes.

Smells of heavy clove, light banana and lemon peel. Also, some faint bubble gum and straw underneath.

The mouthfeel shows the difference between pure feel and carbonation. The beer is full-bodied, bordering on thick, but there is still lively carbonation that keeps this from being a beer-shake.

Surprisingly sweet at the start, with honey, banana and citrus taking the lead. The finish cuts some of the sweetness with some light hop bitterness, a bit of alcohol and some light oak notes. I wish that the oak were a bit more noticeable and the sweetness gets a bit unruly at the beginning but, overall, this is a very interesting triple. Seems like aging might cause the flavors to blend more seamlessly.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ipa247 for this one. Batch 69. Corked and caged 375ml bottle poured into a Southampton oversize snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Gentle pour yields a gigantic 2 finger frothy, fluffy white head with great retention. Beer is a clear orange. Lacing is patchy and thick with little cling. Pretty.

Nose is coriander, orange peel, soap, and cane sugar. Real deep and robust but lively at the same time. Nice.

Opens clove, orange peel, coriander, citrus fruit, and Belgian yeastiness. Very sweet and herbal. More yeast towards the middle with some cane sugar further enhancing the malt body. End is sweet and yeasty with touches of citrus throughout. Aftertaste is of sweet orange and spices. Moderate complexity. Very enjoyable.

Light to medium bodied with ample carbonation. Lively and bubbly in the mouth and crisp and aggressive going down. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste. Decent.

For an 11% offering, this one hides its boozy side very very well. Otherwise, a very solid tripel though the barrel-aging barely shows up in the flavor profile.

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Damnation Batch 23 (Oak Aged) from Russian River Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.