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

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Damnation Batch 23 (Oak Aged)Damnation Batch 23 (Oak Aged)

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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 Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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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 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 yourefragile
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 69 on draft at the brewpub.

Pours darker than regular Damnation; cloudy golden orange with a fluffy off white head with average retention and lacing. Sweet aroma of oak, honey, bready malt and fruit like mango, melon and citrus. Much less yeast and spice than regular Damnation and much more fruit and sweetness. Slightly fuller body with high carbonation and a dry finish with mild tart notes. A little more enjoyable fresh than the bottle of Batch 46 we tried a few months ago.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, like all Russiaan River Belgian style beers, this was amazingly drinkable. I'm generally not a fan of beers that use oak chips as compared to full barrel ageing, but this one was restrained enough in the oak department to still be quite tasty. If wholee barreels had been used it probably would have been ethereal- especially ones that had been softened by long use. Poured very pale golden with an excellent head that faded tto a ring. Smelled sweet and oaky with some light notes of Belgian yeast. Tastes a bit sweet to start with more oakiness quickly following as well as some apple and pear flavors as well as a bit of straw. Crisp and refreshing with a just a bit of tannins on the end. Goes down very easily, even with the oak- shocking for its high abv. Not my absolute favorite beer from them, but very nice.

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Photo of corby112
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden orange color with a two finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic chunks of soapy lacig left behind.

Sweet, slightly earthy aroma wih lots of estery light fruit notes, toasted oak, vanilla and earthy hops. Hints of apple and lead along with some pine and champagne yeast.

Medium bodied with some soft carbonation up frot along with a champagne like efervesence that gives off hints of bready yeast and light fruit esters. Lots of sweet apple and pear along with slight booze and spice but this is nicely mellowed out by the oak presence. Not overly dry or toasted with hints of coconut and vanilla that nicely masks the high ABV. Some virgin oak beers taste like charred tooth picks but here it is nicely integrated into the flavor of the base beer. Complex, flavorful and dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Thanks to Jason for opening this.

A: Hazed orange with a creamy white head. Fades to stray bubbles.

S: A light oak presence with bread and caramel. Faint oxidation and alcohol. Moderately sweet. Earthy hop profile.

T: Bread and caramel with a little sweetness and oak. Light booze. Alcohol is faint. No harsh notes. 

M: Upper light in body with lower moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is creamy, sticky, and smooth.

Overall: A very nice beer. I've had this many times but am happy to finally review it.

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Photo of John_M
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub. Not having had this beer in some time, I was really looking forward to trying this beer on tap.

The beer pours a solid gold color with good head retention and decent lacing. The nose is attractive as well, showcasing honey, clove and vanilla. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this moderately sweet beer, though I confess I was expecting a bit more flavor from the barrel aging. Frankly, this doesn't taste all that different from the regular damnation... I get a bit more vanilla, but that's really about it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the 11% alcohol is amazingly well disguised and integrated into the flavor profile.

Shrug. A very well crafted beer, no doubt, but I guess my expectations were a bit unreasonably raised, given my experience with the bottle version a few years back.

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Photo of aasher
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle is Batch 69, received in a recent box from BrewerB, thanks Brian. Kudos to Brian for hitting yet another want of mine.

This beer pours a medium bodied honey gold in color with a billowing three finger, soapy white head. It took about five minutes for the head to recede. The aroma consists of some spicy Belgian yeasts, orange peels, coriander, fruity esters, and a slight floral componenet (can't pinpoint the flower). It's nice and aromatic. The flavors are smooth and yeasty. I pick up plenty of fruit esters, slight bubblegum, spicy yeasts, more yeast and slight banana. There is also some slight butter, most likely from the oak aging. Since they don't say, I'm curious as to which oak they used. Local, French, etc.? Regardless, it's solid. It drinks very well for being 11% and the alcohol isn't noticeable at all. This is a nice tripel and pretty drinkable. I'd like to have this again but for me the standard is still La Fin du Monde.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured golden orange in color with yellow highlights that had a thin frothy head and left some good lacing sticking to the glass. I did detect the oay character upfront on the nose with citrus, booze, and faint belgian yeast notes. The belgian yeast character and dark fruits were more apparent on the palate with oaky and citrus accents but with slight tart notes. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a citrusy, mild fruity, oaky, and tart finish. I like the regular damnation but batch 23 is pretty intresting and drank good. I'm glad I've got to try it a fews times now.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle received via I Want That BIF from lou91. Corked and caged, Batch 023. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1" beige head over the darkly golden brew. Super-dense head lasts and lasts, due to generous rejuvenation from the bottom constantly sending up more and more tiny bubbles. Lacing is plentiful and sticky.

Aroma is sweet, lightly spicy, with twinges of alcohol and oak coming out at the end. Taste follows the nose's guide, with the front being the sweet/spice area, and the latter half being oaky and alcohol focused. Halves meld together better as the brew warms. Mouthfeel and drinkability are very impressive. Except this is the only bottle I have, so I'll have to just remember this one, and keep an eye out in the meantime.

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Photo of harpus
4.82/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When I was out in Santa Rosa, I went out to Russian River. While I was their, I bought a bottle of the Damnation Batch 23. I took this to a Free the Hops meeting. I watched as everyone a round the room poured a sample and tasted with a happy face. When I tried the beet it was about straw in color, it had a thin head. The smell was fantastic sweet with hints of coriander. The taste was of carmel malt and vanilla. This was a great beer, wish I had bought more then just one bottle.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 375ml bottle of batch 69 with an abv of 10.75%.

The cork came out easily, a huge pop ensued.

Pouring slowly, I got about half the bottle in my glass; there's SO much foam! And it rises to the top of my glass. It's a light golden coloured brew and..I'll check on the lacing when the foam settles a bit. If it ever does. Okay, it did and there's some nice lacing.

It smells kind of funky and yeasty with a nice helping of tart that I guess comes from the oak.

The taste is of yeast, tart fruit, especially when I swish the beer in my mouth, light bitterness, and an almost taste of funk; not quite there with that but I don't know if it was meant to be there at all. Very tasty.

I poured the rest of the beer from the bottle to get the spent yeast in there.(again, a massive head of foam forms) Sometimes, that's the best part of a brew. ;^)

Very close to if not full bodied with a delicate level of carbonation, the mouthfeel is outstanding! With all the pluses I'm getting from it, the alcohol is almost barely noticeable. I'm digging Batch 23 big time!

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle poured into a Bruery Tulip. Thanks for the bottle jodan.
Batch 69

A - Pours a light, hazy orange with a huge cream-colored head. Good retention and lacing left on the glass.

S - Green grapes, belgian yeast, spices.

T - Tart grapes, yeast, slight woodiness in the back.

D - Tons of carbonation and a lighter body.

O - Nice and funky, but light and refreshing.

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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 dgilks
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy golden colour with a smooth, white head. Fair head retention.

Rich, citrussy aroma with notes of lemon balm and some fantastic herbal notes. Really interesting.

Smooth malt with a bright spiciness and lots of citrus. Some nice hard fruit notes.

Medium light body with moderately-high carbonation. Very mild, creamy tannins to round out the body. Very good.

A delightful beer with lots of flavour, a nice rounded body and lots of citrus. The oak seems to be missing but I still like it.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, corked and caged, batch 46. I recently received 2 of these bottles, one from ipa247 and one from westcoastbeerlvr (thanks Jeff & Craig!). Brought one to a tasting at Jackie O's, and it was VERY well received.

It poured a murky looking pale golden color, with some yeasty bits and a solid head of foam. I went back to the bottle for one of the last pours and it was darker, with more floaties in it.

This smells a lot better than the regular Damnation, the oak comes through strongly. Behind the oak this seems less "tripely" than the normal Damnation, although it still returns a strong Belgian character. It comes across more as an oak-aged Belgian Strong Pale than a tripel.

And same with the taste, light fruits like apples or pears, a very light malt character, and nice spicy oak. No real spices that I could taste, and very little hoppy spice, I think.

Low carbonation but adequate to the task, a soft or creamy mouthfeel, excellent. I liked this SO much better than I expected. I'm gonna save the other bottle for another 8 months or so, and see if the oak diminishes a little (even though it's delicious now).

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Photo of spinrsx
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bomber from Boyton Liquors San Jose CA - Thanks to zacs for this!

Appearance - Hazy yellow/amber colour with an average size fizzy/frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes.

Smell - Breads/grains, grapes, yeast, apples/pears

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, breads, grains, and grapes. There is also some pear/apple and something along the lines of almonds.

Overall – Didn't really pick up on the oak as much as I would have expected, but a fantastic beer. A really great drink to sip on during the colder weather. I liked this one much better than the regular Damnation.

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Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Joe - thanks!

Pours a clear lemon-yellow color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sugar-coated pears with solid amounts of sweet malts and milder amounts of earthiness, some from the oak and the rest from leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells although not quite as smooth. Sweet malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of fruits and spices - pears and cloves mostly with light amounts of green apple flavors. Midway through the sip the sweetness is tempered a bit by the oak and carries through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I didn't pick up on any huge differences between this and normal Damnation however the nose in this one was a bit more robust. Worth a shot.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a bomber into a Westvletern chalice.

The ber pours a dark honey gold with a hint of orange. The white rises about 3 fingers providing great retention and lacing.

The aroma is pretty light but very sweet to start, maybe butterscotch, some clove? As you dig in more you get some nice floral of a tripel with a hint of oak at the end. Very nice, balanced and complex.

The taste is also very balanced and complex. It starts our a little sweet and light fades to some nice floral hoppiness then ends with some great oak and as you swallow a great hint of vanilla.

The feel is light, warm with a semi dry finish.

This beer is very drinkable.

Overall, this is a great beer. It retains all the qualities that make a great triple but then ads a great uniqueness with the oak.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Christ all mighty. Moving 24 cases of beer and more importantly, about 80 trips down (and up) 4 flights of stairs with an armful of garbage can be tiring - who'd think that? I need a crisp, clean, refreshing beer and a 10.75% tripel (courtesy of waltonc) is what I have in mind. Thank you, Chris. This is batch 46 Into my RR -tion tulip

Crystal clear light orange with a dense, frothy, eggshell-white head, this beer is absolutely redolent. Head retention is excellent too, and the lace this beer leaves is gorgeous.

The nose is excellent. Fruity with a blend of citrus, pears and apricots and some white grapes, this also has a mellow spiciness with white pepper, and a moderate tannin character. The oak integrates very very well with the fruit and the spice character, and just a little vanilla is present as well. Not surprisingly, the alcohol is present on the back end. Quite excellent in integration, this.

The palate opens with a noticeable alcohol bite and prominent, juicy, fruity character with citrus, pears and ripe apricots. Moderate vanilla comes through mid-palate, and coupled with the rather big alcohol character, it makes me think of what a good flavored vodka would taste like. Mild spice character mid-palate with a little clove, a little pepper. Not particularly yeasty. While a little sweet, this beer dries up quite well on the finish. Medium-light in body with a moderate carbonation, the finish is particularly excellent, with a blend of fruit, spice and drying tannins. Vinnie does not disappoint. This is going to fuck me up, but it's going to be a pleasant trip.

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Photo of ccrida
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 46 bottle (10.75%) poured into my Damnation tulip, Damnation Batch 23 is a dark gold with a large white head that is pretty slow settling and leaves heavy lace, some big hunks of foam. Lots of numerology babble on the label reality checks me into what can happen from living on the west coast and reading to much Edgar Cayce! Drugs are bad, mmmm k?

Smell is awesome, bright and fruity, just a bit of wood. Really appetizing.

Taste is interesting. From the first sip I thought, well, they took a great beer and overdid it. But then as I worked though the bottle, I came to really enjoy it. The oak, and more so alcohol are both pretty strong, no question, with a particularly boozy after taste, but the fruity esters are strong and tasty. I still prefer regular Damnation, as what I like about this is basically in spite of the overdone ABV and oak. There might be some vanilla character from the chips that I'm perceiving as esters, but the oak strikes me mostly as a woody, and really isn't to strong. As I get used to the bruising ABV, I like it the beer more and more.

Mouthfeel is smooth, very creamy, light body.

Drinkability isn't to bad for such a strong beer. It took me a while to get used to it though. First glass washed down my chili nicely, and the rest was a nice digestife. Still, it's overkill.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sarah for sharing this one!

A-pours a bright golden orangish color with a creamy bubbly white head that lingers for a little leaving a nice thick lace

S-the nose is pretty big with lots of nice oak aromas and some sweet vanilla up front. sparkling white grapes with notes of sweet sugar and some soft golden fruits hold strong in the nose with a touch more oak and note of booze in the back.

T-this is delicious, hints of spicy phenols right up front. soft golden fruits take over, pear and some peach with some light sour apple underneath. the back adds a touch of ginger with some spiciness lingering throughout the finish.

M-this has a medium to light body and is very soft and smooth on the palate. the carbonation is lower and not biting at all giving it a still crisp clean finish.

D-this is tasty, lighter, and soft on the palate. fantastic beer and quite easy and pleasant to drink. the oak falls off a little in the taste but was still a great brew!

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Photo of drpimento
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Boy O Boy! Onto something here, mmm HM!! I let this warm up some out of the fridge to about perfect temp. Poured with a colossal, foamy, frothy, fluffy, sudsy, off-white head that soon settles down to some scud and some lace. Color is a clear amber with bubble trails. Aroma is yeast, hop, malt, oak, caramel, spice, bread dough and makes me want to quit screwing around and DRINK IT!!! Flavor doesn't let me down a bit - very similar to nose, but all have more impact, vineous, and flat out tasty. Very true to style. Body and carbonation is similarly true to style. Finish is like flavor and trends more towards vineous and has the slap happy boozieness. Wot a beer. Yessir.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to womencantsail for this tick in my quest to try all of the RR -tion brews! Batch #046! Served from bottle into a Firestone Walker sampler shaker. Poured yellow-orange with a half finger white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, and dark fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, oak, and dark fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew. It had a very different flavor than what I was thinking it would taste like. The flavors present were very nicely balanced and worked well together. The aroma was very nice as well. Very glad that I got the opportunity to try this. Thanks again Andrew!

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