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

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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

548 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 548
Reviews: 237
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.6%
Wants: 266
Gots: 155 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: bosco7 on 07-07-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 548 | Reviews: 237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brentk56
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a peach-colored liquid that is capped by an inch or so of foam; plenty of speckles remain on the tulip as the liquid is consumed

Smell: The vanilla and oak is clearly discernible; underneath, there is a range of fruit - pineapple and melon, with a hint of mango

Taste: Spicy and herbal, with fruit and grain flavors underneath; the pineapple, melon and mango arrive prior to the swallow, but the oak and vanilla arrive in the back; all of the flavors linger in the aftertaste for quite some time

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with prickly carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I am impressed by this beer but all things being equal, I think I would prefer to drink the regular Damnation; somehow the oak and the extra alcohol are not adding to my enjoyment the way I though they would

Thanks, madtowndmb1, for the opportunity

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a hazy bright golden color ale with a super huge foamy had with excellent retention and some very good lacing. Aroma which consists of citrus and floral hops are well balanced against the sweet notes of the malt bill. Taste is a great mix between some citrus and floral hoppy notes and some semi—sweet malt notes. Oak is very subtle but seems to bring a rounder taste at the end. Yeast strain a somewhat fruity and can be detected. Body is full with great conditioning and some excellent carbonation with no apparent alcohol. This is a great improvement IMO over the regular version which is just too fruity.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 023. Sunny daffodil yellow with multiple stately bubble streams wandering up to a wonderful looking crown of alabaster colored cream. Once the foam starts to melt, fine sheets of lace can be seen gracing the glass. A Belgian brewer would be proud.

The nose takes time (and warming) to open up... and still isn't that powerful. There's a bit of golden fruit, almost no spice, and little to no oak. In the end, the next highest score wasn't even considered.

Damnation Batch 23 is now slightly more than 3 years of age (bottled 6/4/07). According to the brewery, it can be aged 4 years. While it doesn't taste over the hill at this point in time, neither does it have much flavor boldness and complexity is lacking. The alcohol has mellowed nicely, however.

Flavors include pears macerated in Poire Williams, a Chardonnay grape vinousness, and a wee sprinkling of white pepper. Oak is still difficult to appreciate. I'm not sure what sort of yeast strain 'R.R. Wine 1' is, but it's doubtful that it's a Trappist ale yeast given the lack of the usual tripel/BSPA esteriness.

Reading the previous few paragraphs, one could be forgiven for thinking that Damnation Batch 23 is not good beer. Nothing could be further from the truth, it's just that it isn't up to Russian River's usual standards. This is one my five favorites breweries in the world if you want some idea of what I consider their 'usual standards' to be.

The mouthfeel is more American big beer than Belgianesque. It's roughly medium-full and feels sugary slick rather than airy and fluffy and expansive. Carbonation that is too laid back is the most likely culprit. At least it isn't a bottle-conditioned, overbubbled mess.

Russian River brews the single best beer in the known universe (Pliny The Younger) and plenty of others that are special as well. Damnation Batch 23 is solid, and has aged well, but it isn't the outstanding effort that I was hoping for.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -29.7%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting a long time to try this one and decided to grab it out of the fridge last night and go for it. Served chilled and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 07/28/2009.

Appearance - The pour was magnificent. Huge white foamy head crowns over the top of the glass, easily coating the sides with thick globs of foam. Hazy and bright golden in color. Really something to behold I have to say. After a few moments it settles down, but still it was a really well done example of the style.

Smell - Aroma is bright, really nicely done again here. Hints of light woody notes lay upon a touch of funk and light notes of grassy hops and grains. A touch of light fruit now coming forward as well.

Taste - The flavor was light at first, but it built up considerably over time. Light banana and clove at first gave way to a smooth and comforting sour toasted that rolled into a nice blend of earthy oak notes and hints of grassy flavor. Rich and very subtle at the same time. What actually impressed me the most was the lack of high abv in the flavor. Really well done here and I have to say, quite nicely blended.

Feel - Near perfect carbonation kept this one from being too heavy while at the same time, thick enough so that the profile was easily distinguished. Nice balance with a frothy feel towards the end letting me know this one was alive to the last drop.

Drinkability - For as big as this was, wow. I never would have been able to tell. It was impressive to say the least that it was as drinkable as it was. Very smooth and the flavor far overpowered any boozy quality it may have had,

Overall - Very nice, and a quite a bit different then the regular version. I would have no issue at all with having this again and I could see easily why people rave about this as much as they do. Very well put together and really a very nice offering from them. Look forward to trying another.

Photo of womencantsail
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeff for sending me this one quite some time ago.

A: The pour is a cloudy orange color with a fluffy and somewhat soapy white head. A bit of white head.

S: Some slightly tart fruits like apples and lemons, maybe a bit of grapes as well. Some nice oak aromas, sweet bready malts, honey, and some undertones of alcohol.

T: Lots of great fruit flavors along with a bit of warming alcohol. Sweet apples, pears, and some citrus zest. Honey, and some floral notes to it, and maybe a slight spice ester character. Nowhere near as much as the usual Damnation.

M: The body is medium with a moderate to high carbonation and a slightly drying.

D: Very different from regular Damnation, and probably for the best. I really enjoyed this beer. Would love to have it again.

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -18%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a cloudy, hazed orange with a frothy, white head.

Smell: Aroma of an oaken banana boat crossing your lake-going path, notes of sweet-scented, bready pale malted barley, phenolic spiciness, orchard fruits, and with a fleeting hint of lavender on the nose.

Taste: Moderately sweet in the fore with a taste of bready, candyish, honey-glazed pilsner malts. Small, quick dash of 99 Bananas for bit of sting over sliced pears and gala apples. Slight citrus. Very minute hop bitterness. Spicy, butter American oak character late and into the semi-dry, persistently fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. There's an ever so slight, tongue-coating creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Overall: A solid, oak-aged tripel. Yes, that's what we call it.

Photo of largadeer
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank both batches of this side-by-side at 'Tion Night at the Toronado. Both are great, but the new batch struck me as being a little better, so I'll review that one.

A: 13 oz pour into a tulip glass. Golden and clear with only the slightest haze. A thin white cap is all that formed for a head, more a result of a gentle pour than a lack of carbonation.

S: Peppery yeast, soft oak, rich pale malts. Slight graininess and a touch of tropical fruit.

T&M: Malty sweetness hits the palate first, grainy and fruity. The oak is very well dialed in, not overbearing on the palate but present enough to add some pleasant notes of vanilla, earth and soft tannins. Medium-light in body, crisply carbonated; spot-on. Really dries out in the finish, becoming more peppery and crisp. I really enjoyed this one, it's got a very authentic Belgian tripel character that most American breweries fail to achieve.

Photo of emerge077
3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 69, 12.7 oz. bottle, served in a wine glass.

Hazy pastel orange, champagne streams of carbonation. Creamy whipped meringue foam that lasts forever, leaving impressive irregular peaks and crags that rise above the rim of the glass.

Flowery aroma, lots of Belgian yeast esters.

Flavor is pretty wine-like, as if the barrel/chips were freshly soaked in chardonnay. Lots of fruity flavor, apple, white grape juice, and peach, coupled with white pepper and perfume. Estery and spicy, charged carbonation, full bodied with a hint of vinous alcohol. Oak character seems to get lost behind the wine and Belgian yeast flavors.

Honestly this batch wasn't all that tasty, but regardless of personal preference it's well put together. Had a batch 23 750mL of this years ago (thx Dave) and it wasn't really the same. This was much more estery and wine forward. edit: Sampled on tap next day at the brewpub also. Seemed a bit less yeasty and a touch more drinkable, but still had the same dominant white wine flavor.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a flared pokal.

Big thanks to hannydawg for sharing this bottle!

Batch 69. I didn't even know they aged any of this on oak, let alone on regular intervals, until tonight. Right on. This stuff pours a clear pale gold topped by plenty o' cream-white foam. The nose comprises orange peel, bleached wheat, light soap, light balsa, and light banana peel. The taste brings in more of the same, along with some light orange zest and some light Brett-like funk. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very nice bit o' brew, though I feel like the oak was far too subdued for everything's own good (yeah, I admit I was looking for some crispy oak notes in there...). Good times, nonetheless.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap, so of course I need to try it on the bottle version. Ya know?

This is an excellent tripel, though this particular batch is really striking me as a bit too hot. Maybe it needs some time to mellow out. That issue aside, this is still pretty good. Through the burn I am getting nice character and a good profile. Even though this might need to mellow a bit, it's still nice.

Photo of oline73
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

The beer pours a clear amber color with just a layer of off white head. I'm getting lots of Belgian yeast spice in the nose along with a sweetness. The taste is a bit more interesting. I'm still getting the Belgian spice along with a malt sweetness, but there is also an oaky note and a fruity note. I would say this is a well balanced beer. The head sticks around all the way through the pour.

Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Nanoslug for sending me this one. This was the second release - Batch 46. Served in a Westvleteren chalice.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of off-white foam that settles to a thick ring and a near-complete cap. Splotchy fingers of lace slowly slide down the sides of the glass. Body is a murky peach-apricot color. As I got near the end of the bottle, big chunks of yeasty sediment slopped into my glass - yummy.

S - This is a sweeter tripel, with less grains of paradise and coriander than many I've tried. Instead, it's very fruity, with plenty of pear, banana, and starfruit mixed with a mild estery yeast character. The oak comes out a bit as it warms up and lends a spicy wood flavor, along with some vanilla.

T - Taste is more caramel malt, fruits, and vanilla. Alcohol is relatively well-hidden, considering the beer's high ABV. Closer to 4.25 for me.

M - Very soft and smooth body, a touch a of heat, lower but preset carbonation that keeps it from getting cloying.

D - Shared a 750ml bottle and that was a good serving size, although I could have gone for a little more.

Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by TurdFurgison. Thanks! A Russian River beer I've never tried? Yes please. I'm a huge RR fan, this beer was served in a Bruery rastal glass.

Beer is golden with a white wispy head that sort of swirls with the beer, never really disappearing but rather late to the party for a head, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation, beer is really hazy too. Interesting, looks like beer.

Beer is a little oaky in the aroma, perhaps some sweetness in there too, slightly too sweet in the nose for a tripel but it smells nice, decent yeast esters on the nose. Smells nice.

I should look up to see if RR calls this a tripel or if this is some BA nerd that added this as a tripel. In my opinion it is too sweet and not dry enough to be a tripel. This is probably better called a strong pale or something in that family but I digress. Beer is medium to light in body, moderately carbonated on the palate. The beer leads off with this sweetness and the mid palate of the beer is quite fruity, like apples or white grapes. Some nice oak overall, a great beer. I really enjoyed it, not quite my favorite tripel or strong pale and not my favorite Russian river Belgian ale but this was really good and I'd have it again.

Photo of mactrail
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fruity with a big pineapple flavor. Brewery says Tomahawk, Sterling, and Casacade hops in the mix, but it certainly isn't overly bitter. Aged in American oak but I don't taste much vanilla or woodiness. Rich flavors, sweet and sharp. Fragrant with caramel and flowers.

Hops are really fragrant but it's not a bitter beer. Hugely drinkable for a strong beer. Nice lacing and carbonation as well. On tap at Pizza Port in Ocean Beach.

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Actually batch 69. Poured from a 12.7 oz. bottle into my Lost Abbey glass since I don't own a Russian River glass yet.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent bright orange yellow color with two and a half fingers of fluffy off white head and high carbonation evident. Head lasts for several minutes and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of Belgian style yeast, spices, citrus hops, oranges, floral hops, fruity malts, bananas, and cloves. Not getting any oak, seems very much like the normal Damnation in the nose to me.

t - Tastes of bananas, cloves, spices, pepper, Belgian yeast, citrus hops, floral hops, earthy notes, sweet fruit, a hint of wood or oak, and alcohol. Again, almost no oak. Tastes has more bananas and sweet fruit than the nose, and a tiny bit more alcohol.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Pretty smooth and just the right level of carbonation before it gets too much. Tiny bit of alcohol.

o - Overall I thought this was a good beer, but I don't think it was an improvement on the base beer. It's very similar and there is not much oak at all. I think the normal Damnation looks a little better so this rated slightly below it (4 vs. 4.03), but both are good beers. Interested to see what happens to it with some time on it as the alcohol was there in the taste.

Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 46. Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this California gem.

The beer pours a slightly hazy yellow color with a white head. The aroma is citrus (both lemon and orange) with some oaked character. The flavor is orange, oak, lemon and a nice dose of vanilla. The alcohol is very well hidden and unless you look at the label, you would have no idea this beer was 11 percent. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of kojevergas
3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite oak-like in the aroma, but it is not overpowering & in fact took me a second to recognize. The beer is a brilliantly clear, copper tinged, gold color and is topped by a frothy, initially two-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. Aromatic notes of buttery oak, vanillin, orange zest, and a light, yet sharp, spicy oak character. The hints of vanilla and orange remind me a bit of an orange-cream candy, though the aroma is fairly dry smelling. Boozy notes of warm alcohol are present, especially if you linger too long over the nose. Slightly must, but overall the aroma is nice, but not all that striking. It actually might not be the alcohol alone that is noticeable, but really a lot of the spicy oak character that is accentuating a sharpness / hotness in the aromatic finish.

The taste is quite a bit sweeter than the aroma suggested, but it is well within line for a beer of this strength. The sweetness accentuates a note of orange / lemon zest. This beer is actually fairly dry over all & becomes lightly sweet as my palate adjusts to it. The beer finishes with a mix of hot, higher alcohols, bitter hops, some light phenolics & spicy oak character. The oak / barrel character is quite a bit more subtle than the aroma would have suggested, which in my opinion is a good thing. Oak notes of vanillin, spicy, woody oak and a touch of tannic astringency are all noticeable if you dig a bit, but really they contribute to the overall character of this beer. Really the oak, while not hugely apparent individually, does have a large effect on the flavor profile of this beer (from the vanilla notes, the spicy character, to the perception of bitterness, astringency & alcohol in the finish). Floral notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom and bird of paradise add an interesting component to the flavor profile. The residual sugars provide a nice, softly creamy, heft to this beer that makes this beer contemplative; it is nothing like a chewy, all malt beer (like a Barleywine), as it is fairly light for its strength. In fact, at times it is down right drinkable; I think a big part of this is that the carbonation helps to refresh and lighten up the overall perception of this beer.

This beer definitely is strong, while the 10.5% does not quite hit you over the head, it is still noticeable. I really am enjoying the soft, orange like flavors & aromas in this beer; these notes pair quite well with some of the oak components. I have a feeling this beer will age quite well for a long time. In fact, this beer really needs to age for quite some time as it is a bit too young right now; perhaps a year but maybe even three would do this beer wonders To tell you the truth, I wouldn't be surprised if this peaked at 5 or 10 years even. It is certainly not a bad tipple right now, it is just that I see this getting a lot better.

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of Halcyondays
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

Damnation Batch 23 (Oak Aged) from Russian River Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 548 ratings.