Russian River Brewing Company

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Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Belgian Pale Strong Ale
Ranked #10
Ranked #5,324
4.12 | pDev: 9.95%
Nov 11, 2022
Sep 19, 2003
Notes: Inspired pretty much by Duvel and other strong golden ales of Belgium. It is medium-bodied, has a fruity/banana bouquet, and a dry, spicy finish.

Pub draft and bottles, local distribution draft and bottles, some draft to some distributors, bottles to all distributors, year-round

Original Gravity: 1.056
Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%
Color: Golden
Bitterness: Mild
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.19 by raust from Texas

Nov 11, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by doctorgary from New York

Sep 03, 2022
Rated: 3.48 by beefbucket from Missouri

Jul 14, 2022
Rated: 4.19 by Hawkfish from Washington

Jun 05, 2022
Rated: 3.53 by gboley from California

Feb 26, 2022
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Reviewed by colts9016 from Idaho

4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Review 1608
Russian River Brewing
Date: 08 May 2020
Drinking through one of the lists on BeerAdovcate, this beer is next on the docket. I served the beer in a chalice around 46 degrees. The pour created a massive two-fingered creamy but airy white head. The retention is excellent, leaving gobs of lacing on the glass. The color charts around SRM 8, dark golden yellow with amber hues. The clarity is clear with loads of carbonation. A beautiful appearance.

The aromas in the beer are cloves, phenols, floral, toasted crackers, banana, a touch of funk, and earthiness.

I taste cloves, phenols, floral, herbal, green grass, toasted crackers, bready, a hint of funk, orange, banana, and earthiness.

The mouthfeel is dry and spicy.

The body is medium, has high carbonation, and has a lasting finish.

I was expecting a big, malty, and spicy Belgium beer. I got a lighter malty Belgium Beer with a dry, spicy finish. A unique take on this style. I enjoyed the differences in this beer.
Sep 02, 2021
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Rated by gefinley from California

3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Bottled 5/27/20.
Aug 30, 2021
Rated: 4.75 by Nage37 from California

Aug 17, 2021
Rated: 3.85 by Nyarko-San from Pennsylvania

Aug 02, 2021
Rated: 4 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

Jul 26, 2021
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Reviewed by Emichaelbray from Pennsylvania

3.03/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3
I should issue a caveat. The bottle shop had this labeled as a Russian Imperial Stout. You stout drinkers can imagine my disappointment.
It is not that this beer is bad. Looks, smells, tastes and feels like a Belgian. Not a particularly good one so I’m surprised by the ratings. It’s spicy banana Belgian blah blah boredom all day long. Almost as if someone said, “let’s brew a prototypical Belgian.” And strong ale? At 7.5%? I have had abbey ales at 10%+ with heavy duty sediments and incredibly complex flavors. Those are Belgian strong ales. Duvel, though decidedly weaker than some, is light years beyond this. The temerity!
Jul 25, 2021
Rated: 4.48 by Vylo from New Jersey

Jul 04, 2021
Rated: 3.5 by akk14 from Illinois

Jun 08, 2021
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Reviewed by Beginner2 from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Inspired by Duvel in style, Damnation exudes the Sonoma terroir: winey, yet wonderfully dry.
The yeast reminds me of Belgium's passionate pints, particularly how the yeast works up the malts. And a dash of pepper. Spritzy.

Because Russian River produces mostly world-class Wilds (and I shy from the style), I am glad to see their excellence applied to the BSPA. Preceded by two Bay Area cheeses, Damnation went wonderfully with an impromptu pasta dish with butter and Italian parsley.
May 24, 2021
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Reviewed by sjrider from California

4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Uncaged and uncorked this pour produces an exceptional foamy white head on top of an opaque dirty lemon yellow body. Head lasts indefinitely. Nose is citrusy and yeasty, lots of esters. Taste follows with an almost dry spicy finish. Reminiscent of many pale Belgian brews.
May 02, 2021
Rated: 4 by BeerRay from Rhode Island

Mar 18, 2021
Rated: 4.51 by simonrgilbert57 from California

Mar 06, 2021
Rated: 4.02 by eshooshoo from California

Feb 05, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by Stengelfoot from California

Jan 31, 2021
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Reviewed by IBU_Hunter from California

4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Another great Beer by Russian River!
*Looks: Classic-Strong Belgian ale appearance, pale amber colored, semi-opaque
*Aroma: Mild malt, pilsner, mild bread/yeasty
*Taste: This a well-made, damn good Belgian Style Ale! Honestly if this were a blind tasting, I wouldn’t know the difference alongside La Fin Du Monde, Dūvel, Chimay, Westmalle etc.
*Finish: mildly warm at 7.5% abv, easy on palate but slightly, only slightly heavy.
*Overall Verdict*: Beautiful, artistically crafted, strong Belgian Ale by Russian River. Super work of art if you like Belgian style!
Jan 27, 2021
Rated: 4.17 by Taenim from New Jersey

Jan 09, 2021
Rated: 4.06 by jbdpsu82 from Pennsylvania

Sep 16, 2020
Rated: 4.5 by ryanf2192 from District of Columbia

Sep 04, 2020
Rated: 3.5 by NonicPanic from Pennsylvania

Aug 01, 2020
Rated: 4.44 by Electros from Canada (ON)

Jul 05, 2020
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Reviewed by Yokoono76 from Colorado

3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Has a decent head, beautiful hazy, Golden, effervescent look. Smell, a tad metallic, Typical yeast odor, not much smell at all. First touch in tongue yields mild bitter reaction, but mellows immediately. Notes of apricot, sour dough, some pine, and fruit notes. I don’t taste the spice, but feel the warmth from it. Overall, a mellow, but refreshing flavor. Mouth feel, is creamy and gentle, medium body. Overall, A good beer.
Jun 15, 2020
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Reviewed by Harrison8 from Missouri

4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours a foggy pale orange with a fluffy three fingers of off-white foam. Head retention is great, forming a stoic layer above the beer for a long time. Aroma is pale, biscuity, wafery, crackery, earthy malts with slight resiny, herbal hops. A little clove rounds it out. Flavor profile is resiny, herbal, grassy hops that reside at the back of the tongue after the malts finish singing the chorus. Malts are biscuity, wafery, crackery and pale. A little lemon grass and clove lingers towards the finish. Mouth feel has a bubbly effervescent that somehow expands and fizzes on the tongue as it hits, growing the texture from start to swallow. Crispness creeps on towards the finish, after the initial foamy expansion on the tongue. Overall, bubbly and yet crisp with a refreshing display of malts and hops behind. Balance is great with a little playfulness.

Served in a 15.5oz Speigalau tulip from a 375mL bottle. Bottled 12/21/2018, consumed and reviewed 05/14/2020.
May 14, 2020
Rated: 4.43 by SauceMcSauce from Pennsylvania

May 03, 2020
Rated: 4.18 by Jjl329 from California

Apr 26, 2020
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Reviewed by 5toutman75 from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
500 ml bottle dated 4/17/18

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a Duvel to be honest but I think I might prefer it. That’s not to say this is bad, but Duvel is amazing. I’m not getting a lot on the nose. It’s dry with a bit of funk. I wouldn’t know it’s a Belgian immediately but after a couple of sips it’s apparent. A great beer but maybe better fresh?
Apr 01, 2020
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Reviewed by Tony210 from New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours a medium straw color - like an IPA. Sweet Belgian candi sugar aroma. Flavor is very typical of a Belgian, but softer from the age. Touch of bitterness in the finish. Carbonation is appropriate, medium bodied. Overall an ok beer, might have aged it too long...

500 ml bottle dated 4/17/18 - thanks Adam!
4 rating
Mar 23, 2020
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Reviewed by IronLover from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Golden yellow in color with light orange hues and hazy, unfiltered appearance. Poured with an obscenely large, billowy, white foam with excellent retention. Wheat malt and fruity pear aromas with light notes of under-ripe banana. Medium bodied with medium high carbonation. Creamy smooth feel with expanding boozy warmth through the finish. Sweet fruit flavors, pear and light banana followed by spicy coriander. Malty and fruity flavors on the back end with spicy coriander tapering to the end. Finished dryly with a lingering spicy flavor. Fantastic display of Belgian esters. Mellow fruitiness balanced with spiciness and boozy warmth.
Mar 21, 2020
Rated: 3.75 by Eychung from New York

Feb 27, 2020
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Reviewed by DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Pours a light yellow with a mild haze to it. Huge head formation. When it calms down it recedes to a finger of pure white foam. It persists for quite a while.

Nose is yeast funk, banana, clove, mild citrus zest, perhaps lemon. Vibrant scents jumping out of the glass. Very appealing.

Taste is denser than the nose. Richer. But similar. Some nice bitterness from the hops counteracting the touch of sweetness from the malt.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with mild carbonation. Very smooth.

Not a huge fan of the Belgian Pale Ales, but I was quite impressed with this brew. Having limited access to Russian River its hard to snag bottles, but I pick one up whenever I get the chance. I look forward to seeing the rest of their accomplishments.
Feb 03, 2020
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Reviewed by cratez from Canada (ON)

3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Rating from notes. 375 ml bottle purchased by my wife at City Beer Store in San Francisco, California. Consumed January 2014. "Bang on for the style." 3.88/5
Jan 26, 2020
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Reviewed by hophead723 from California

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
I got one of these expensive bottles of World-Class beer from Whole Foods for $7 each. Poured into a stemless wine glass because I don't have a tulip or goblet, the recommended glassware for this style.

Look: The golden color of the body is reminiscent of unfiltered Buckwheat honey, an orange-hued amber. Super fluffy, frothy, choppy, and billowing slightly off-white head. The body is hazy and shows ample carbonation from the bottle fermentation. When the cork is popped, the bottle oozes smoke like some Harry Potter shit. The lacing drags down the glass like foamy bunting.

Smell: Right after popping the cork, I immediately get an incredibly complex aroma of toasted challah, fig, a touch of orange zest, phenolic clove, banana, delicate white pepper, and caramel. This stuff smells mouthwateringly good.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The incredibly rich bready taste has mounds of caramel, toasted challah bread, browned butter, light hop spice, earthy hops, biscuit, and sophisticated yeast-derived banana and fig flavors intertwined throughout the perfectly balanced yet still malt dominant flavor profile. The flavors explode across the palate as this liquid genius glides down the throat. The hopping perfectly balances and complements the other flavors, yielding pure earthy and slightly spicy mild bitterness to back things up. The body is overall a solid medium; hearty with enjoyable chewiness. The well-hidden alcohol is slightly warming as the beer comes up in temp, with a reassuring kiss of sultry euphoria that caresses the mind and spirit.

Overall: Incredible this beer is outstanding evidence of just how good Russian River Valley is. I loved digging my nose into the soft, smooth foam of the aromatic head and gulping down the cool liquid genius. Incredibly smooth and drinkable, with such deliciousness that each richly pleasurable drink makes you go "mmm" and smack your lips. This is one of the best breweries in the world. This beer is extremely delicious in every way. A fantastic example of the style, one of the best beers I have ever had.
Jan 16, 2020
Rated: 4.46 by JamieDuncan from Maryland

Jan 02, 2020
Rated: 4.49 by bubseymour from Maryland

Dec 29, 2019
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Reviewed by entheos from California

4.64/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
The beer pours with much froth with a slight stinging sensation when tasted. Once adjusted, the warmth of the ale surrounds and it becomes another solemn moment in the mind of a monastery. Excellent!
Nov 10, 2019
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 3944 ratings