Damnation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,145 Reviews
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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:
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Reviews: 1,145 | Ratings: 3,797
Photo of Bitterbill
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This 750ml caged and corked bottle(Batch 008) poured a hazy medium gold with plenty of foam and lots of nice lacing.

The smell is really fruity with lots of yeasty notes as well...I could sniff this one for a long time. ;^)

The taste is wonderful! Lots of sweet malt offset by a yummy yeasty taste and fruity by way of plum and banana and a good clove presence and this sample from Batch 008 just impresses the heck out of me. I mean, if you poured this son of a gun in a glass without my seeing the bottle you poured it from, I'd swear it came directly from Belgium!

Bottom line: This is my 2nd review of a RR Damnation(first was from batch 007) and this one is even *more* impressive. It's an amazing beer from an amazing brewery!!

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Photo of Shaw
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Batch No. 3 in July 2005 while on vacation in San Diego. Now, almost a year later, I'm finally drinking it to celebrate my fiancee and my purchase of our first home. Whoot!

It's a lovely and very carbonated golden brown with a huge white head. It smells of biscuits and spices like coriander, very nice.

This is a very good beer. There are flavors of lemon, biscuit and alcohol all playing together. The flavor is also nicely tart, which balances the alcohol flavors. There is also a nice wine-like dryness too.

The body is wonderfully light and crisp from the abundant carbonation. The drinkability is good too. I'm drinking a whole 750 mL bottle, which is plenty.

This is the second RR brew I've had, after Pliny the Elder. This is one of the best beers in its style. I can't wait to try more of their brews. Too bad they're thousands of miles away from our home in Florida.

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

On tap at Lanesplitter in Berkeley CA. Very Reminiscent of La Chouffe.

Pours a hazed golden pineapple, rather far from limpid. Head is white, bubbly, and very Belgian. It rises and falls with each lift of the glass. Body bubbles aggressively, ebulliently even.

Aroma consists of ripe Jamaican sugar bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, Munich malts, and citric hops. Nose sharp and sweet.

Taste is spicy citrus hops, banana ice cream, bubblegum, and earth. Balance is decent but not flawless.

Mouthfeel is light and breakneck. Zesty and spicy, it hits your cheeks with a zinger of strength and sweet and sour fruit. Not bad.

Drinkability is decent. Finish is crisp, clean, and dry lending to higher drinkability.

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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.

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

A - Pours a slighty cloudy light golden color, nice carbonation, tiny head, nice lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of hops, malts, citrus, slight bananna, spices, and slight pears.

T - The taste is very complex, sweet, tangy, light, and carbonated.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. I love this brew, very very tasty. Russian River is pretty hard to come buy in UT though, LOL By the way this is my first RR.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice, deep golden color with a huge, fluffy white head on top. Talk about a Duvel clone! Sulfury and grainy aroma-peppery and somewhat spicey. Big, crisp, yeasty flavor. Full of malt with a nice mellow bitterness. Somewhat phenolic. Again with the grain and sulfury notes-this time flavorwise. Nice, full, bright mouthfeel. Very drinkable beer. I really like the sulfury and grainy character of this one.

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Photo of bditty187
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750ml bottle; Batch 005

When the cork popped a tremendous about of “gun smoke” leaked out the bottle, it was awesome! The beer poured clear, shinny gold in hue. I am sad there is little color depth but it does fit my idea of the style. Massive white head, at the apex the foam was some three fingers tall. Head retention was good, after a couple moments a sticky/fluffy cap remained. Lacing started before I took a sip. Once I started to remove the liquid the subsequent lacing was spotty but well spread. Overall, this looks quite nice!

The nose is really enjoyable. I was expecting something along the lines of Duvel. This is much different… better I suppose… no, just different. I love the fruitiness, bananas, pineapple, pears, melon, white grapes, and a green apple too. Just to add more depth are faint notes of bubblegum with a delicate blend of spiciness. At the back is a smattering of bread and grain but not in a dull unsophisticated way, quite the opposite actually. Moderate potency but it says so much! Soft but ample… I can’t wait to see if the palate offers the same array of flavors. The bouquet is impressive; inviting!

The palate is not as fruity as the nose but I am not saddened. In fact, there is much more hoppiness than I was expecting. It is also not as sweet as I was expecting, damn, I’d even call it dry. Firm but fleeting bitterness yields to a pleasant juicy malt backbone with plenty of fruitiness. Spicy red apples, bananas laced with cloves, some melons, and hints of grapes too. The fruitiness was much more vibrant in the nose but the addition of “tangible” spiciness mixed with the fruit is quite lovely. I like how the grainy maltiness finishes the palate. I am digging the sharp, hot, and yet fruity finish. The aftertaste is a bit sweet but it is not distracting. Actually, the aftertaste screams at me to pair this with some fresh fruit and good cheese. Oh hell yes, this beer would kick so much ass with fruit and cheese. Excuse me as I remedy that…

Medium in body, which is perfect, the carbonation is a tad too low for my tastes, I think if the bubbles were more active the residual sweetness would be lessened greatly. Still, the mouthfeel is quite good.

As much as I liked the nose and palate I am thrilled at how easy this beer is to drink! Damn enjoyable. Sometimes Duvel-type beers bore me. I foolishly waited to drink this beer. I assumed it would be “dull.” Why didn’t I have more faith in RR? What a mistake. I loved this beer. I would love to drink it on-tap and lots of it. On the surface it is simple and pleasant but once analyzed it is complex and delicious! This is a great beer. I am happy I purchased a bottle online from RR, it was worth every cent. I highly recommended. Why did I wait so long to drink this gem!

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Photo of carln26
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured a dark, hazy gold with a fluffy white head that leaves a clunky lace on the side of the glass. The nose brings biscuit malt, bread dough, lemon citrus, and a bit of green apple. The flavor is more intense. Sweetness from the malt lends hard candy, the green apple, and a touch of the biscuit. The hops come across mid-quaff with more citrus, but it’s in the form of orange. The green apple comes back in the finish and is accompanied by a tartness/mild bitterness that lasts. The mouth feel is slick and light. The beer is very drinkable. I was wowed by my first Duval, and became somewhat ambivalent to the beer after that. This beer re-ignited my passion for this style.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First, a big MAHALO to Eyechartbrew for bringing me this wonderful beer on his last visit to the islands.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

The beer practically explodes out of the bottle. A huge white, fluffy head presents itself and has very good lasting power. Nice lacting. Beer is a nice golden color with lots of carbonation seen rising. Amazing to look at.

Aroma is of floral hops, sweet malts and spicy pear. Quite pleasant.

The taste is of some balance hops bitterness, malts, bananas, spicy pears and banana. The hops at the end is nice, not overpowering. Nicely warming. More hops came through as it wamred.

The mouthfeel was much lighter than expected. Medium bodied. Lightly cleansing.

Overall, a very nice beer. Not something I could drink all night since the 7% alcohol would have me on the floor. Actually, this beer seems to be even stronger than its alcohol content suggest. Not a bad thing, just interesting.

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Photo of scottoale
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice deep gold ale pours out of the 750ml, corked, brown bottle with a thick foam head of white. The two-finger head settles down to a 1/2inch thick cap that is kept aloft by the lively carbonation streamers, rising from below...a good quality look about it. Batch 008.

Big sweet, malty nose comprising of corriander, banana, pear and some notes of citrus, as well as alcohol. A very complex smell thats very Belgian.

Initially sweet and spicy, the mouth fills with the flavors mentioned in the smell. As flavors mix and mingle, they eventually tone down to a citrus, bittering hoppy, lightly warming, alcohol of a finish...wow.

A nice balance overall, a tad sweet and spicy at times, the alcohol un-leashes as the ale warms. Full bodied, smooth mouthfeel with a fizzy tang to it, easy to consume yet filling. This ale seems a bit stronger than it's listed ABV of 7%, so drink with care...cheers !

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 007.

Pours a deep rich gold color. A decent size head lasts and leaves lacing all the way to the bottom.
Has kinda' a spicy malt aroma.
Spicy. corriander and clove. A slight fruit flavor - banana and pear like. A slight bitterness too. All of this on top of a slightly malty character.
Medium boddied with still kind of a rich mouthfeel. Flavor grabs the whole pallete.
I poured the last of the bottle all the way to get that yeast in my last glass. The bottle warns against this, but I had to try it... Good.
This is a good tasting and very drinkable beer, but I don't know that it is worth the price.

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

From my notes on recent trip, poured into a sampling glass, arrived with a bit of head and cloudy golden color. Aroma is pretty good, cloves and toasty malts and a twinge of lemon. Taste... holy mother of... lots of it. Malts and cloves and floral hops and banana and spices make this pretty intense, almost out of control, but pretty good. Can sense the alcohol in there, good body, good beer, though not my favorite from here for whatever reason

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Photo of Zorro
4.89/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured in to my Duvel Tulip to see how it stacks up. Batch 006, which I interpret to mean 2006.

Pours a chill hazed golden colored ale with a smallish white head. I can't discount this for not having a freakish mammoth white head; it is one of the few annoyances that Duvel has.

Smell is quite nice and very fresh. Lots of clean and strong floral scent and a touch of honey pollen. Nice fruitiness, citrus and pineapple mostly. Mildly sweet smelling with no obvious Candi Sugar smell. Nicely spicy coriander and black pepper. Herbal to the point of making rosemary seem like a weak spicy herb. The lack of a trip on a container ship makes a big difference in the smell, simply awesome.

Taste is barely sweet and nice floral tastes and coriander. Fruit flavors kick in on the second sip and I start to realize how complex this beer really is. Mild herbal bitterness here is just right to balance what sweet there is here and let all the more subtle flavors dominate. Spices are mainly coriander here and this is too smooth for black pepper to dominate. Superior to Duvel as it actually is in the USA.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Awe inspiring drinkability is in my glass here, makes Dom Perignon taste like rotted grape juice. I could see drinking this all the time if it was more available, but even in California you can only get this when you see it. Well Hennepin and Duvel are almost as good; a lie I can believe after a few weeks of convincing myself.

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Photo of bruachan
3.02/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

coriander, coriander, coriander
smells like a sweet, fruity wit with a floral element. the coriander aroma is big but reasonable, but upon examination by my tongue...too much. i think they bittered the beer with coriander. mixed with the oversweetness, the coriander is especially unsavory

poured a hazy, light orange/apricot color. no lacing

sweet, yet prickly. too sweet, actually

thought it was decent in the bottle, but the sweetness and over-the-top coriander just blow it here

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

Batch #2

Pours clear, pale gold, and lively.
Ambitious head rises 1/3 up the glass with a straight- down pour.
Rocky and somewhat porous, white in color, with clingy retention.
The froth is of average duration, receding to a skim coat with a beaded edge.
Aromatics start off with lemon zest, juniper, and some buiscuity malt.
Further warming brings forth cracked pepper, grains of paradise, and chardonnay- soaked orange rind.
Nose finishes crisp and warming, with an oaky dryness and ginger skins.
On the thin side of medium in the body, with some sharp carbonation notes and mild puckering.
Pallet starts off lemony and spicey, with light malt and assertive bitterness.
Some chewing of the brew highlight a wine-like character, with some light grapeskin astringency.
Warmth and zest brings up the finish, with clove and pepper on the exhale.

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Photo of kmcnair
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 007

Pours a beautiful deep straw color and wears a very thick and fluffy marshmallow colored crown. Aromatics are a combination of strong bread yeast, crisp malts, lemony twang & coriander spice. Flavors of tart citrus fruit, spicy coriander, clean hoppy bittering, lightly sweetened bready malted finish. Smooth and creamy texture on the palate, silky carbonation, and has a dry ending. This is one fine ale that I will not tire of any time soon, very drinkable. Try it, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Foxman
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It came to me a bright, blonde yellow, lemony and well-carbonated. a finger of fluffy white head soon settled to patchy froth. Lacing was delicate and plentiful.

The aroma was a melange of fruity splendor, with banana, pear, tart apple, and passion fruit combining with a spice paiting of clove and coriander. A more distant citrus note lingered along wth a gentle doughiness at the periphery.

Upon sipping, there came a deep toasted malt sweetness, rife with the esters from the aroma, again with banana, green apple, and a general fruity succulence. A quick flash of alcohol came through here, as well as a yeasty bread character. Spices asserted, though more roundly, with clove the standout. The hops were still citrusy, but far less so here, and more bittering than flavorful. The finish was gradually dried by the lingering bitterness. The sensory business was easily outdone by the pleasing blended result.

A bit short of medium bodied, it was lively and carbonated, and the elements all lay slick on the palate before washing away.

It started damned pretty, and I enjoyed it, a lot, to the final drop. It's an interesting twist on a longstanding style, and the personality it exuded kept my attention the entire pint. While the ABV is just enough to demand respect, it was never an issue, and the drinkability is refreshingly high. This is one beer I would gladly pass over others in order to get to for a return engagement. This is the reason I keep a clean, empty growler in my car.

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Photo of Crosling
3.67/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draught @ Hollingshead in Orange, California. Light dark straw, bordering on orange with a large, frothy and lasting head of foam. An aroma of papaya mostly, with other hints of banana and pear, along with some funky yeast notes and hints of salty pizza dough. Big, doughy, fruity malt flavor with hints of tart passion fruits and grassy and earthy hops. A pretty tasty beer.

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Photo of stacey14
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although Vinnie's Belgians don't get as much attention as other beers like Pliny and Blind Pig, this one has always been a favorite of mine. The funny thing about this beer is the fact that it looks different every time I have it (from clear to opaque, depending on the batch). The aromas are that of citrus and light, crisp scent that I can't really place. Possibly that awesome Belgian yeast! The taste is also citrusy with hints of tang and spice.

Can't wait to try it from the bottle!

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

Batch 003. Ripe lemon chock full of fine particulates and multiple streams of languidly rising bubbles. The head is a thing of near unrivaled beauty. At least half the glass in size, polished alabaster in color, lovely moonscape surface of glittering, diamond-like bubbles. The foam is also impressively sticky, depositing thick patches of abstract-patterned Belgian lace all over the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is excellent and contains all of the requisite elements of the style. The most striking thing is how well-balanced it is. Nothing is permitted to overplay its hand. The centerpiece is golden fruit (pear and green apple especially) with a complementary amount of warm, spicy clove and cardamom. It's also reminiscent of white wine.

Damnation is a good version of the style that doesn't quite deliver the everlasting depth of flavor that the best 'bona fide' Belgian ales do. That's not to say that it's anything other than wonderful beer, just that it has some seriously tough competition. The fruit is less prominent than the nose suggested and the spice is a little more prominent (white pepper especially). The beer is also much more dry than anticipated.

The white wine character isn't so much Chardonnay (no oakiness) as it is Sauvignon Blanc (acidic, crisp, tongue-tweaking). I'm sure the bitterness of the hops is contributing mightily to the anti-sweet nature of the beer; it's a saliva sucker of the highest order. Great use of floral, grassy noble hops. Gotta be Saaz.

The mouthfeel suggests that the beer contains a pretty fair amount of malt, which makes the lack of sweetness all the more surprising. This may be the most lush, mouthcoatingly sticky, dry-bitter beer that I've ever had. The finish is anything but clean, a characteristic that I think makes for a much better mouthfeel. The amount of carbonation is on the high end, in accordance with the style.

This is unquestionably good beer from what is clearly a world-class brewer. I can't wait to try whatever other Russian River offerings I can lay my hands on. Damnation's only 'fault' is that it doesn't fit my preferred profile for a BSPA. Make no mistake, though, it's a very nice domestic version of a sometimes hard to duplicate style. Authentic and enjoyable.

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Photo of joecast
4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

ahh. what a relief. ive been staring at this beer in my fride for about six weeks waiting for a good time to enjoy it. after a long hard week a work and a hot day outside, seem like as good a time as any.

750ml bottle. great looking, informative label. batch 003. lively POP when finally working the cork loose.

pours surprisingly clear golden (considering how loose the sediment seemed at the bottom of the bottle) forming a 1-2cm white head settling to a thin lace. medium, even carbonation.

seriously appetising aroma. enough of everything not too much of anything.
yeasty, spicy, doughy, and a touch of alcohol kick.

gives a tingling sensation in the mouth. probably a mix of the carbonation, and alcohol. finish leaning on the dry side, well, more than leaning really.
alcohol presence is fairly upfront though the abv is on the low end of the scale for this style. not in a bad way as it meshes well with everything else. the same spiciness from the aroma gives the mouth a hit before giving way to a combination of yeast and alcohol before the dry finish cleans it all up.

begins to mellow as i make my way through the 750 (hey, it takes a while), but still a pleasure.

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Photo of jaluria
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a cloudy, yellow-orange color with rust highlights and a moderate level of carbonation with big bubbles. A nice thick, white-colored head devleoped and left behind loads of lacing. Aromas of honey, yeast, grains, and dried fruit came out nicely. A bitter taste with fruity tones; dried apricot, pears, mellon, and white grapes. Rich and fruity with a sweet finish that is long and mellow. Highly addictive with a creamy texture that just rolls into your mouth and leaves behind intense flavors. This is a wonderful beer; one of the best examples of its style and well worth the $10 I paid for the bottle.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle provided by the impenetrable beermanbrian.

Pours a clear golden color with a huge white head. Lots of bubbling action. Thick lacing on the glass.

Smells malty and bready with a slight fruitiness. Very inticing.

Nice breadiness upfront with a slight fruity taste. A bitter hop bite kicks in and it washes down bready, bitter, and slightly dry. The bitterness lingers.

Good carbonation, body still seemed slightly thin.

Nice drinking brew, as I expected it would be.

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

Batch 003, served from a 750 ml bottle. When I took the cage off the bottles, the cork flew out of the bottle neck without any agitation. Nice presentation. The beer poured a golden yellow color with a thick white head, good lacing. The beer had an aroma of of citrus and bananas, a bit acidic. The taste is a good balance of spice, citrus and carbonation. As with most RR beers, there is a good balance in the beer so that the higher ABV is not overally noticable.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BeerBeing for the trade. This one was a gusher, not too bad, though. Pours with lots of foam, leaving rings of lace. Nose is complex, with spices, banana, some citrus, and grassiness.

Tastes very good, some yeasty notes, along with the flavors noted in the aroma. Mouthfeel is good, well carbonated and smooth. Drinkability is high, if only I could buy this in IN.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 3,797 ratings.
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