Damnation | Russian River Brewing Company

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3,830 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 3,830 |  Reviews: 1,152
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!

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Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 58, poured into a tulip.

A - Pours a hazy orange-tinged golden brown with a finger of white head. Head dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lacing.

S - Nice aroma of citrus, a bit of spice and Belgian yeast. A slight woody aroma.

T - Citrus and spices up front, with Belgian yeast and some earthy hops. Clean, dry finish. Really enjoyable.

M -- Medium mouthfeel that finishes dry and earthy.

O -- I think this is up with Duvel as my favorite Belgian pale ales. I think Damnation has more juicy citrus than Duvel, but both are excellent.

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

375ml bottle poured into a Bruery Tulip glass.
Batch number is missing, but I think it is #6

A - Pours a light, golden yellow with a huge foamy, near-white head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Belgian yeast, then some light maltiness, earthy hops, and spices.

T - Citrusy lemon up-front, then some bright spices and yeast.

D - Tons of carbonation, lighter body.

O - Wonderful - lively and light, tastes great.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.24/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Cork comes out with very little pop. Pours out a pale straw color with only 1/4" of white head. Carbonation seems very low, and very little retention.

Smell: Smells pretty good. Citrus and yeast. Esters form and combine for a light, refreshing smell.

Taste: Citrus, yeast, light phenols present, but with a really odd, twangy aftertaste. I'd call it metallic more than anything else.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Light mouthfeel. Again, the carbonation seems low. Not bad though. Overall, wasn't a huge fan of this. May have been an off bottle.

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Photo of Hands22
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 70 poured from a 375 mL bottle into a snifter. 

A- Straw colored with a thick white head that faded but left a thin layer of white on the top. Great lacing. 

S- Spicy aroma typical of Belgian-ale phenolics. Some tartness with a light fruitiness (apples and pears). A little floral too. 

T- Again the spicy phenols with a light, tart fruitiness. A sweet maltiness backs up they yeast and keeps the finish from being too dry. 

M- Medium-high carbonation. Medium body. Somewhat creamy actually. 

O- A good Belgian strong. The yeast character is good but a bit one dimensional. A little more complexity would have been nice. On a positive note, the 7.75% ABV is very well hidden.

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Photo of tony223366
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my beer journal. Reviewed on September 29, 2011.

A: Beautiful golden color. Lots of carbonation around glass. White head quickly dissipated but sticks around with a light layer.

S: Smells very crisp. I get some phenols. Some sort of fruity sweetness as well.

T: Sweet and fruity up front. Some nice phenols follow with a dry finish. I get some of the peppery alcohol without the warmth. Great yeast. As it heats up a lot more cloves.

M: Crisp and astringent with a nice medium mouthfeel.

O: Excellent brew. Very tasty and great depth.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2011-10-16 at Teresa's Next Door in Wayne, PA. Had this on 2015-06-28 at the brewery on tap. And again on 2018-10-02 from a 375ml bottled on 2015-09-01.

A - Clear gold with a 2-finger bubbly-white head and mild lacing.

S - Tart apples, spice, yeast. Very fresh smelling but not a strong aroma.

T - Tart apples, mild spice, Belgian yeast and mildly sweet banana wheat bread. Finishes dry. Very, very fresh tasting on tap. Alcohol flavor is restrained. Good balance.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation. It has a really rich feel without being heavy.

O - Just a real nice, refreshing and well-balanced beer with good mouthfeel. Nothing that knocks you over-the-head but everything is so nicely proportioned that it's a winner.

Notes from 2018-01-02 tasting. A delicious, easy-to-drink Golden Ale that isn't very sour at all. If it wasn't 7.75% ABV, it'd be quaffable! Need more of this!

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a pint glass.

Pours a nice light yellow color with a small white head. Nose is a bit spicy and hoppy with lots of Belgium an yeastiness.

The is very well balanced, mellow and smooth with a nice spiciness as you'd expect from the nose. Overall its way better than the bottles ice had.

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Photo of fatmcb1
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado in San Diego.

Pours a light golden color with a white ring of head. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Tons of spice, belgian yeast are very strong. There is also a malty, caramel aroma. Light earthy hops are in the background.

Much less spice come through in taste. It is very malt forward. There is also some light fruit.

Light bodied, and sticky. Sweetness lingers on the tongue.

This is very easy drinking, and enjoyable. Not my favorite in the style, but not bad.

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

Review from 9/2016 of same batch (064) bottled early 2011 as far as I can tell:

A: Pours a clear amber-gold with a tall, frothy white head. Excellent head retention with huge fluffy walls of lacing everywhere.

S: Lots of candied fruits. Citrusy for sure, light bananas and cloves. Sugary.

T: Very sweet candied fruits. Interesting combination. Lots of citrus but I'm getting banana and pears in there too. Sort of a cereal grain sweetness to it overall with ripe or candied fruits sparking the sugary levels even higher. Cloves on the back end with some white pepper helps balance it out.

M: Medium bodied, smooth. Age may have detracted slightly here, the carbonation is really low now.

O: Really nice BSPA. I think this is my highest rated one ever and 5+ years hasn't diminished that rating it seems. It's lower carbonation now, a bit sweeter but the nice maltiness, fruitiness and spices still remain and well-balanced at that.

Review from 10/2011 below:

A: A clear golden straw pour with a huge bubbly/frothy white head atop it. Retention is excellent and so is the lacing.(4)

S: Apples, pears, bananas. Yeasty. A bit of spicy pepper.(4)

T: Surprisingly good. As mentioned, some light fruit like apples and pears. A great pepper spice along with the cloves. Little bit of banana. No real indication of alcohol.(4.5)

M: Just right in my opinion. The mouthfeel is great, the carbonation is perfect and it is surprisingly smooth with a bit of a crisp, drying finish. Super drinkable.(5)

O: Great BSPA. I don't like many of them but this one is quickly among my favorites.(4.5)

Total: 4.4

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with a one finger white head on top. Not much retention, quickly reducing to a very thin layer of white on top. Thin, but sticky lacing forms on the sides.

S: A nice Belgian yeast aroma, lots of spice, mostly pepper and some coriander. There is some light fruit as well, apples, pear, and a bit of orange.

T: The apple and pear flavors come through very strong in this beer. The spices are not as strong as the aroma, but show up. There is also a very light grassy/hop flavor on the back end.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes slightly sticky.

O: For style I don't love, this is a very nice beer. Very subtle flavors and extremely easy drinking.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
3.67/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 66, poured into a Maudite goblet. This beer is a bright golden color with white head that oh so slowly settles. The aroma is not overly strong but getting some peach, pear and a light banana along with just a touch of hops as it warms. The taste is somewhat simple but in a good way. You get the belgian yeast gum like flavor then some sweet fruits and some hop bitterness at the end. It has a light, dry finish that pretty much begs you to take another sip. The alc. is very hidden. This was very enjoyable but not something I would go out of my way for.

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

On-tap at The Bottle Room, Whittier, CA

Pours a yellow/golden color. I'd hate to say this, but it reminds me of Budweiser or PBR. No points knocked for this though. Has a half-inch of white head, no retention, and no lacing. This smells of belgian yeast, spices, and the ocean. For some reason, Belgian ales always remind me of the ocean. The taste is spicy up front and out back, leaves a tingling sensation in the throat. Mouthfeel is really good on this one, pretty effervescent. Overall I would say this is a pretty decent representation of this style, nothing overly special. I would drink it again, for sure.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Batch 63.

Appearance - I don't think RR makes a beer that doesn't look spectacular. Hazy golden body with an ample head and eternal lacing. Sediment floats about the body, but I didn't quite catch all the yeast when I decanted.

Smell - Fruity and yeasty, with a touch of bread. Bananas in the nose as it warms. Not a complex aroma, but nice.

Taste - Again, a simple flavor profile. Fruity and sweet at the start with a yeasty and bready malt. It finishes dry and spicy. All the flavors are good, but it's really uninspiring. Nothing complex, just solid flavors.

Mouthfeel - The body is a little bit syrupy, but the finish is dry enough to make it feel lighter. Not as high of carbonation as I would have expected, but it doesn't need it.

Overall - I have yet to be disappointed by RR. This is no exception, but it's below their usual standards. I can't find any reason to say any category is less than "good," but I can't find a reason to say it's any better than "good."

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Photo of bum732
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to cduckett16.

S: Slight crabapples and some blackberries, lots of dried apriots.

L: Hazy dark orange, not much head.

T: Apricot like smei-sweet malt with a phenolic, spicy bitterness. Quite hoppy overall with a dried fruit like finish. Fairly dry finish.

M: Medium high carbonation, medium bodied.

Really enjoyed this, simple and delicate, but solid all around.

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Photo of ikantspel
4.82/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12.68 oz bottle served into a tulip

Pours a citrus orange. Carbonated with a finger head.

Smells of fruits and candy. Yum

Wow. Knocked me off my feet. Very sweet with a carbonates mouthfeel. Sweet spices little clovey aftertaste. Not astringent in the least. Cannot belive this is damn near 8%. This slightly edges pranqster as the best american made bspa. Good job russian river

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Russian River garners so much respect on this site, and for good reason. My experience so far has just been with Pliny the Elder, and, to me, it was the perfect DIPA, truly flawless. Let’s see if RR can hold their own with a much different brew: the Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Here’s hoping – it’s one of my favorite styles.

Bottled eight months before the date of this tasting (Batch 063, Abbey Ale Yeast and Champagne Yeast as primary and conditioning yeast, respectively). Many thanks to tripelhops, who absolutely wowed me with the greatness of beer he was able to pack into one box for me.

A: This one pours with an incredible gold shine – gorgeous. White, foamy silk makes up the head, which stays for a good two or three minutes before it smooths out to a thin, bubbly layer. Lacing is interspersed throughout, never in huge quantities, but never lacking in that lovely adhesive quality. Excellent presence.

S: Wow, these yeasts have a really nice aroma. They start off phenolic and estery, laced with a wild tang. Then they show some surprisingly full Belgian Dubbel/Tripel aromas, which darken up the nose considerably. It’s a battle of rich against crisp, and the only clear winner is me. There’s a hint of sweetness, too, that comes off in a remarkable way: though I’m getting a sizable helping of savory vanilla cream, fruit extract, and gum drop candy, these savory sugars are light enough not to offend. It’s a profile I’ve never come into contact with before, and it’s really quite extraordinary. Around comes a booze kick at the end, and we’re ready to go. Great stuff, here.

T: Excellent, excellent taste profile. The first thing you get is a dose of gummy fruit candy, sugar that’s not surprising when you consider the nose. Phenols combine with a slight metallic note to provide a sharp acidity to the flavors, while European-style hop bitters ride shotgun. The banana esters come out in force, too, but without the abbey flavors I found in the nose. As it warms, some spice comes out – clove, mostly. It has a dry yet lovably smooth finish, making it incredibly drinkable. Really. As far as Belgians go, this is Duvel drinkable.

M: Astringency’s a big player in the feel, as is the case with many BSPA’s. It’s noticeably alcoholic, carrying the slight warmth and tart dryness of a potent wine. Not too thin and not too thick; great texture on the body.

O: Belgian all the way – the best American attempt at this style I’ve ever had. Leave it to the farthest possible brewer to make the best Belgians…such is the beer world, though. I’m just glad I got to try this truly great beer.

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Photo of Philousa
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy tan haze with little head and minuscule bubbles floating from beneath. I get bready, pungent odors in the nose, strong belgian yeast, banana, citrus, and spices. Pale malt hit the tongue first, fading to a tart yeast flavor then smooth alcohol mixed with savory fruit and a tiny bit of vanilla at the end once it warms up. This is highly carbonated, but the fine bubbles don't make it harsh on the tongue. This balances out the viscous mouthfeel well.

This is a sweet, yeasty treat. It's complex, but not annoyingly so. I'm a big fan of this Belgian yeast, unlike Unibroque's, so I'm inclined to think I'll like all RR's Belgians when I taste them. I'm not normally a big BSPA fan, but this is done very well and I would drink it when given the chance. Probably the best Belgian I've had so far that's made strictly in the states.

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Photo of HoosierInOhio
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up on my trip to Seattle. Consumed <1 month after returning

A - Gold or Dark Yellow, looks like lemon-aid, thin head, can see the carbonation

S - Fruity, lemon zest, something sour

T - Less Belgian-y than a Belgian, which is good for me. Fruity, some hops.

M- Crisp, makes you want to take another sip.

O - Glad I tried it, Belgian style isn't really my cup of tea, that said, this was pretty tasty.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at pope in philly

Pours a brilliant golden color with a slight haze. Thin white head dissolves, leaving little retention or lacing on the glass.

Floral hops with spice in the nose. Touches of apricot and pear with faint sweetness. Nice yeasty funk, straw and biscuit malts. Very soft alcohol presence.

Slight bite of hops with floral and spicy tones. Very Belgian feel, some yeasty and funky qualities with a dash of clove. Decent fruit sweetness with apricot and pear. Slight bitterness and warmth during the finish.

Medium body, higher carbonation, dry and tingly on the tongue. Pretty drinkable, alcohol is masked well, nice balance with the fruit. No surprise, another fantastic beer from RR.

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

Served from batch 065.

A: Massive 2" white head that left a nice lacing in my Duvel tulip glass over cloudy golden straw liquid.

S: Yeast, apples, pears, and alcohol.

T: A somewhat bitter yeastiness and cedar taste up front which transitions to pear, pepper, citrus hops and some slightly funky earthiness that lingers.

M: Thick viscosity and a full level of carbonation.

O: A thick and drinkable Belgian Strong Pale Ale that gives representatives from the old country a run for their money.

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Photo of Nashvillain
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear straw gold into the glass with a huge white pillow of a head. Amazing coloration with tons of bright carbonation.

Smell is a light tartness with some funk in the background. A little light for a beer that should be so funky.

Taste starts with big belgian fruit esters then slips into a dry, rustic taste with just a hint of buttery diacetyl, not really a flaw, I think it enhances the flavor. There's a dry funk that takes a spot in the secondary but as the beer warms it starts to shine.

A really great beer, it's hard to rate this as just "any other beer", there's a sour funk that's expected from Russian River that just doesn't come through on this. Almost like Sanctification's little brother, maybe with time more funk would come through. Tastes really good when you burp for sure...

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Photo of MEsoJD
3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden hazy/thick body with a large fluffy/creamy head that dissipates fast. Adequate lacing.

S: Earthy hops and yeasty malt dominate. Fruit smell is very faint. I would say slight lemon citrus.

T: The smell follows the taste with the earthy hops and yeasty malt mentioned. The lemon citrus is easier to detect. It's also a little sweet and tart.

M: Crisp, apparent alcohol, medium bodied, a little dry, and medium carbonation.

O: Good for the style, yet it doesn't stand out enough. Still very satisfactory. Defiantly worth a try.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from batch 054.

A: appears a pale straw color,short white head, some retention and some lacing

S: notes of lemon zest dominate the front followed by notes of wheat, yeast, bread, and earthy notes. Lots of Belgian yeast character going on here, nice spiciness

T: taste starts with waves of malt and yeast, very spicy, dashes of citrus, finishes with a touch of tartness

MF: spritzy, high carbonation, light body

O: this is a nice, well balanced BSPA. Lots of flavor and nice representation of the style.

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Photo of Coplains
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a tulip as directed by the bottle. Pours golden straw color with white foam that sticks around. Smells floral with light citrus. Very good mouthfeel with good carbonation but not fizzy. Taste is an elegant belgian ale. I am not a huge fan of Belgians but wanted to try a RRBC beer. This was the only one I could find I this area and it didn't disappoint.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,830 ratings
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