Damnation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,143 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.75%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beerguy101 on 09-19-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,143 | Ratings: 3,795
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy yellow with a little head. Lace. Yeasty aroma, not substantive. Aggressive carbonation. Taste is delicate zesty yeasty, tad of grain, crisp, and satisfying.Moderate bitter aftertaste. No sign of alcohol. 6 ounces at Mondial 2006. Had a bottle brought by Dr.Jay six months later.

 285 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium dark honey color with a thick white head. Lovely citrus and peach nose. Flavors are well integrated fruits and hop. This is a very well balanced beer with fully layered but integrated flavors. A very pleasant drink with a medium hop and medium long finish. This is one of those "all around good beers." It becomes a bit soft and almost elegant as you drink it. This beer goes with almost all food and is pretty universally good.

 435 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: two finger white head with some retention on a hazy golden with crimson hues body. Excellent lacing

S: pineapple and orange peel citrus, honey, light musty Belgian yeast and clove.

T: very nice yeasty character throughout with lemon, banana and orange citrus up front moving to clove, black pepper, additional apices and nice bittering hops in the mid and finish.

M: medium body and moderate carbonmation. moister finish than a typical Belgian which I actually like.

Overall: The smell is really about a 4.25 so I rounded up. I love just how "Belgian" this one is. I always have high expectations from Russian River and they are always met. This is usually a bad thing to have but I am not disappointed with this one.

 725 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A nice latticework of lace forms down the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt/grain, spices, yeast, and citrus aromas. Taste is of malt/grain, citrus zest, and some spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is quite tasty and super easy to drink.

 539 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

first russian river brew, batch number 65 poured a uniformly hazy golden wheat color with a large but delicate white head into a wine glass. classy packaging and mercurial carbonation makes this beer look exquisite. the nose is telling me its a nice belgian, but not much more than that. the taste is sharp and white wine like, with a gentle display of hops. a slightly floral and patient finish tops it off and a little sweetness, probably from the bottling sugars left over. the mouthfeel here is divine, bubbly and yeasty and fuller bodied than the style usually delivers. this is a damn fine glass of ale, and i look forward to my next russian river brew!

 659 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a nice looking orange color with a fluffy white head on top. The smell of wheat and some citrus flood the nose on the beer. The taste of the brew has some interesting floral and fruity flavors going on in it. The mouthfeel of the beer was smooth, silky and easy to drink. Overall I feel this brew it quite impressive, much like everything from Russian River. I like that this one isn't a sour because everyone just raves about their sours so much. This one is really good and it's something a little different from them.

 544 characters

Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy light yellow in color. It poured with an eighth of a finger high white head that died down but never completely faded away, consistently leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There ar aromas of yeast in the nose along with some notes of orange citrus.
T: Like the smell, the yeast flavors really take center stage in the taste of this beer. There’s also a slight amount of sourness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It definitely coats your mouth.
O: This is a very interesting beer that has a complex taste. It’s a lot easier to drink compared to some of the other beers in the style, especially since there are no traces of alcohol in the taste.

 744 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damnation. The name basically sums it all up. This beer has all of the Duvel and Leffe components, but in a much more aggresively malted, hopped, and fermented way. It's basically amped up Pale Belgian. The difference here is that the balance remains firm and unwaivering. A very tart Belgian berry-like vineous (chardonay) flavor is balanced with big perfumy hop additions and a soft nectar-like quality-- kinda like you'd expect to find in a Mead. Then throw in some peppery spices, basic pilsner maltiness, and fresh tropical fruits (pineapples, apricots, mangos) and folks, we have a super complex beer. Quite dry and warm in the finish with a lingering numbing effect. Not that it's better than those beers metioned before, but it's a good choice if you want more strength with a similar profile, but don't want to sacrifice unnecessay fusals or phenols.

 859 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml caged and corked bottle, which was the Devil's chore to uncork...hmmm...

This beer pours a cloudy medium golden yellow hue, with two fingers of thin foamy white head, which leaves some spouting streaks of lace around the glass as it seeps away. It smells of pale malt, citrus, spicy clove, a bit of yeast, and simmering booze. The taste is more pale malt, a bit of breadiness, yeast, mild muddled cloves, aged citrus, and softly zingy alcohol. The carbonation is quite sedate, the body medium weight, and smooth, with a slight clingy edge. It finishes warm, fruity, and yeasty, but in a much more blended manner than I may be implying.

A decent enough ode to the Belgian style. It's just with all the hype, I'd rather have a 6 dollar bomber of Unibroue, vs. a 6 dollar bottle of this (which entails a long trip across the border at that). Situational, ya know?

 868 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a hazy honey color and a modest head that re-forms with a swirl and leaves nice swathes of lace

Smell: Banana and bubblegum, apple and pear, and a smidge of clove

Taste: Opens with banana and clove flavors, with the apple/pear underneath; white pepper arrives by mid-palate; after the swallow, the clove and pepper join with some lemony hops to provide a balanced finish

Mouthfeel: Mediun to full body with buoyant carbonation

Drinkability: Nicely balanced and a spicy, hoppy example of the style; very nice

 547 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 750ml caged and corked bottle purchased a while ago at the brewery for about 7 bucks. Bright gold in color with excellent clarity. A big fluffy white head forms from a gentle pour, good retention.

Smell: Fruity esters open this one up, pear/green apple come to mind. Pleasant floral hoppiness beneath that. Faintly yeasty, but clean for the style, not dissimilar to Duvel.

Taste & mouthfeel: Dry and grainy, floral hops, green apple, hints of lemon rind, pear and banana. High carbonation, very crisp on the tongue. Pleasantly bitter in the finish, and quite dry. I can understand why this is Russian River's flagship Belgian style beer, it's complex but very accessible and well balanced.

 703 characters

Photo of kojevergas
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Guinness pint glass in high altitude Denver, CO. No goblets were available, regrettably.

A: Pours a brilliant clear yellow-gold with a five finger head of excellent thickness and cream. Amazing retention.

Sm: Clean pleasant scent of barley, ester, spice, hops, citrus, malt, cedar, and pine, all of which are very subtle.

T: Just like the smell - delicious (<insert Chappelle's show joke here>). Excellent finish. The strength of this beer is its subtlety. It's complex but not overdone. Perfect for a golden ale.

Mf: Crisp and smooth, but golden ales require this smoothness. Beer Advocate's classification of this beer as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale is very wrong.

Dr: I'd definitely have it again, especially at its price and ABV. I find myself hitting the bottom of the bottle while it's upside down to make sure I get every drop. You'd never know it was 7.75%. It's pricey but worht it for celebration.

 933 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Moejuck: Poured a deep yellow/whitish color ale with a big foamy head with some great retention and some lacing. Aroma of pear is quite intense with some light spices and light candy – definitely not what I was expecting but very interesting and particular. Taste is dominated by the pear and even peach like taste with some subtle spice in the background and nice creamy texture. Body is above average with some low filtration and some adequate carbonation. A bit too much sweetness overall for my own taste but quite enjoyable nonetheless.

 561 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 020

Pours a high-clarity orange tone, with streams of rapid carbonation, into an Oerbier tulip glass. Foam settles to a skim, leaving minute spots of lacing. Lively and effervescent.

Earthy hop impression leads off the nose. Aroma of malt, cookies, fruity pear and banana. Mineral water too.

Prickly carbonation hits first, with a bouquet of sweetish malt, fruit, and a light alcohol presence. Bone dry aftertaste, various fruit essences remain, with the
lingering earthiness of aged hops.

Very lively carbonation, champagne-like at times, super dry finish. Mild astringency. Rivals it's Belgian doppelganger, Duvel.

Very drinkable, in sips or gulps. A 750 was no problem in one sitting, it allowed more time to contemplate it's nuances.

Thanks to drseamus for the trade!

 799 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden-yellow color with a small, white head of bubbly foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of grains, dried fruits and yeasty/estery notes.

T - Good spicy presence upfront. It had nice grainy flavor with caramel and dried fruits. Some sour notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a very tasty ale. No surprise that Russian River made another great beer.

 461 characters

Photo of oline73
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden amber with a finger and a half of white head that leaves a layer and some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Sweet and crisp malt with lots of Belgian spice.

Taste: As in the smell, there is a strong spice from the yeast. Mildly peppery with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit on the thin side. Fluffy carbonation with a mildly dry finish.

Overall: This is a really nice Belgian and quite mild given the abv. Quite well balanced and I'll have another when given the chance.

 559 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River in August 2009.

A: Pours a cloudy straw-yellow with a nice white head and plenty of carbonation; good lacing as it goes down.

S: Quite a bit of pale malt lines up behind Belgian yeast with a little bit of spice. Also present is some pepper and a little bit of fruity sweetness.

T: A little bit of sweet grain flavor comes in underneath some spicy yeast with a little bit of hop character.

M: Medium bodied with a good deal of carbonation.

D: Pretty drinkable, but a little off for being a go-to beer. Not one of my favorites from Russian River, but a good beer nonetheless.

 602 characters

Photo of mothman
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damnation Batch 43 into chalice. Side by side with batch 23 (46)

Pours over 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Good head retention with some thick lace. Active carbonation. Color is a slight hazed dark golden orange.

Aroma: Pineapple juice up front with some bananas following quickly. A fruit cocktail. Pears as well. Some coriander and spice. Belgian yeast.

Taste: Very dry here. Coriander, spice, and yeast all show. Bready malts here. Pears, dried apples, and some orange peel show. Has some earthy, grassy hops. Not as sweet as the nose.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp/bubbly. Medium bodied with a ton of carbonation. Ends extremely dry.

Overall, a decent Belgian, but the taste alters a bit too much from the nose in an unwilling favor. Nice mouthfeel, but ends too dry for me. Decent drinkability.

 801 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small head of white foam on top of a golden body with perfect clarity. The head settles down quite quickly and leaves only light lace behind on the glass.

S - Light, fruity aromas of pear and red apple with some bready malt.

T - Sweet, soft malt flavor dominates up front with some honey notes and a hint of pear. More light malt in the middle with some herbal hop flavor beginning to creep up on the palate. Things finish up with a surprisingly strong hop punch of herbal, almost musty European hops and fairly strong bitterness. Notes of pear, red apple, and clove linger on the palate.

M - Medium body, high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - An interesting take on the style. I was initially worried that this bottle might be undercarbonated, based on the strange lack of head, but as it turned out it was very well carbonated. I can't explain the lack of foam as this sort of beer is usually capped by a tenacious head of sticky suds, especially in bottle conditioned versions. Aside from the foam issues, everything else shapes up nicely. There is some of the obligatory fruity yeast character present, but the emphasis is really on the soft, bready malt and the intense, spicy hop profile. This is a bit of a departure from the most successful Belgain Strong Golden ales that I have had, which tend to emphasize bright fruit notes and yeasty spice along side the hops and malt. It works fairly well here, but I feel like it would be more enjoyable with a stronger yeast profile to fill things out. Pretty nice (and reasonably priced for something from RR), but I still prefer classics like La Chouffe to this one.

 1,641 characters

Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #072.Poured into a tulip glass a hazy lemon yellow with a large blooming white head that settled slowly into a frothy mass,aromas of pithy lemon hops,alcohol,and light yeasty spice.Flavors are citric and somewhat medicinal hop flavors up front on the palate,light yeasty phenols actuall mix well with the hop profile wich makes for a well rounded palate.A great beer for the style wich I expected from RR,somewhat refreshing even with a higher ABV.

 454 characters

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into tulip glass, batch 076. Pours hazy pale golden color with a nice 2 finger fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to an nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big pear, grape, apple, lemon, herbal, grass, honey, pepper, wheat, and yeast spiciness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of pear, apple, lemon, pepper, herbal, grass, honey, wheat, bread, light earth, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of light fruits, herbal, pepper, wheat, grass, bread, and yeast spices on the finish for a short bit. Excellent flavor balance of spiciness/fruitiness, with nice complexity; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a lightly slick and very crisp and prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian strong pale ale. Very nice flavor complexity and balance; very smooth and crisp to sip on. Very enjoyable stuff.

 1,041 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Fluffy 1 finger head rises quickly and fades slowly with lacing, over an orange hazy wheat colored beer.

N: Malty, Belgian malts, golden malts and wheat, citrus, fruits, a little candi sugar, and hints of booze.

T: Malty again. Some Belgian malts with more candi sugar, some fruits, wheat, a little citrus and banana, little booze warmth.

M: Medium body with great carbonation.

F: Dries well with some lingering wheat and Belgian malts, some citrus and orange as well. Touch of a malty finish with slightest hint of bready flavors.

 538 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 011, acquired via trade from BeerBeing, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, sour apples, citrus, spices, light malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a burst of sourness but quickly tones down into well-balanced flavors of Belgian yeast, citrus, bananas, apples & spices. There's a good hops presence and a thin but hearty malt character. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sour.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very nice Belgian beer with good complexity to make it intriguing and well-worth drinking for a long time.

 932 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

Poured a hazy but bright golden yellow with a fluffy white head. Light fruits in the aroma, bready, pale malts and subtle spice. Biscuity taste with a medley of fruit flavors: banana, peach, pear, citrus. Some light sugar and spice in the background. Dry finish with some hop bitterness coming in at the end. Light-medium mouthfeel, complex, and quite the pleasant quaff.

 412 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy pale golden yellow in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation near the surface. The beer has an eighth of a finger tall bright white head that reduces to a very thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thin ring at thee edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of light fruits - pear, peach, lemon, and orange - as well as dominant yeast aromas. Very nicely balanced with a nice amount of complexity. As the beer warms, there is a light presence of grape and sourness.

T: Upfront there is a fair amount of sweetness from the lighter fruits (pear, peach, orange, and grape), then the yeastiness becomes apparent (both earthy and spicy), and a touch of floral/lemon hop bitterness in the finish which does not linger.

M: Slightly heavier than light bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth, really coats the inside of your mouth, and light amounts of dryness.

O: This is a very good beer, great example of the style, and very enjoyable - though I honestly would expect nothing less from this brewer.

Thanks to my awesome wife for toting this one home from California on a business trip.

 1,208 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 3,795 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.