Damnation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,137 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

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Reviews: 1,137 | Ratings: 3,778
Photo of ajm5108
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It smells like fresh baked banana bread with a little earthy hay as well. Good carbonation on the mouthfeel. Flavor is nothing spectacular but very good as well. Reminiscent of a lot of Belgian pales, with notes of grassy yeast, light citrus and honey with some rye grain floating in the background as well. Good beer but not a flagbearer for the style.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really impressed with this. This Belgian ale is unlike any other offering in the style. Usually Belgian goldens are too sweet for me, with too much banana and clove going on. Not damnation. Hops on the tongue balanced out by sweet malt and a bit of funky character. I'll be getting this again!

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Photo of bmeehan
4.36/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Damnation is a very good Belgian ale that leans a little on the stronger side. It's a beer that lends itself more to a slow sip than a big chug or gulp, but its still smooth enough to not bite back after swallowing.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours hazy straw to gold under a 1” clingy off white foam collar.
S: Ripe fruit, a hint of banana, fruit,
T: Bread, biscuit, fruit, citrus, pineapple, pear drops, some large pitted fruits lead to a mild bitter finish.
M: Very creamy, effervescent, above average carbonation and a medium to medium light body.
O: As good as any strong pale ale from Belgium.

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Photo of bigsteve45
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Perfect one finger head. Golden but leans towards yellow
Aroma: Belgian Yeast.Sweet and Savory
Taste: Sweet Banana, Lemongrass, Cloves. Beautiful Belgian flavor
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Smooth beer all in all.
Overall: A great Russian River offering. Not their best, but in the belgian strong ale category it sure does shine. SomethingI always pick up if I come across it.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.81/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cloudy dark yellow color with fizzy and foamy off white head that reduces down to a ring around the edge. Smells of tropical fruits and clove spices. Tastes of bananas and spices with some breaded malts mixed in too. Well carbonated with some bite when finishing. Really enjoyed this RR take on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale!

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Photo of KATCanada
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Apple juice color with beautiful white foam that subsides relatively fast. Some lacing. Carmel aroma at first. Very spicy taste, medium body with decent mouth feel. Cloves, banana. In my mind not up to par with other RR offerings but I would drink it for sure but unlikely to buy it.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 112614 at 40 degrees into hand washed and dried goblet
Aroma weak, fruity, with some spice overtones but nothing distinct
Head none, aggressive pour. While some froth occurs while pouring, it instantly disappears leaving a thin 1 mm ring and a tiny island of tiny bubbles
Lacing none
Body light yellow, cloudy (chill haze and sediment - bottle conditioned and I inadvertently stirred up the yeast)
Flavor of spices; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate light to medium, dry, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3.5, Flavor 3.5, Palate 4, Overall 3.5. Slightly above average but not much. Better Belgian ales exist with better price points.

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Photo of DrChompy
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I picked this up at my local grocery store (~600 miles from the Brewery)! I couldn't believe they had it. I almost passed out. Grabbed a bottle, rushed home to taste it and it is amazing. Great Belgian strong!

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Photo of RobinLee
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 04/01/14.

Color: Nice pale gold, think Duvel without the prodigious head.

Nose: Smells like the hop profile of a German pilsner. Floral, a bit soapy, tiny bit earthy, spicy (mostly clover) and banana.

Taste: Rather sweet initially. Light malt, floral hops again, similar to Duvel but not fermented to the same dryness. Cannot tell it's almost 8%, drinks more like 5-6%.

Finish: Grainy, bitter, floral. Nice carbonation.

Pretty much seems like Duvel mini- almost as good, but not quite. As much as I want to say Damnation is in the shadow, it is a good beer in its own right.

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Photo of Dynobolt
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Really really enjoyed this beer.. Another great beer from Russian river, bought it at alpine liqour. Too bad I only bought one, will definitely get it again.

Retried this beer again: 8/15/15
Need to rescore it from my original 4.88
Taste similar to a duvel. Wasn't quite impressed like the first time I had but this time I bought two. Great beer to enjoy still but it was missing something.

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

Look: Pours a hazy yellow with a fluffy white head

Smell: Straw, yeast, wheat, lemon peel

Taste: Cloves, lemon peel, bready grain, yeast, pepper

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, good Belgian style carbonation

Overall: A pretty good brew, I enjoyed thoroughly

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Photo of breadwinner
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I understand this to be an ode to Duvel, but, honestly, I prefer this. I find it smoother, more fruit forward, better balanced than Duvel, the bottles of which I've had have generally been incredibly phenolic and aggressively carbonated. Damnation, meanwhile, pours like a dream, huge, pillowy head that never dissipates. Big banana/fruit/spice nose, even better on the palate where its soft body amplifies the rich fruitiness of the brew. Great stuff and sadly overlooked compared to RR's wild ales.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split bottle w/my sis in law, who's a big Belgian Pale fan. One of the best American made I've had. just the right amount of sweetness, Belgian yeast, lemon, biscuit. great mouthfeel, carbonation

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Photo of Roguer
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful hazy golden ale, cloudy lemon-orange hue, topped with a fluffy snow-white head. Good retention, and individual lines of lacing.

Immediate strong Belgian pale aroma: straw and Belgian candi sugar, yeast, and wheat. Sharp citrus slices through.

Classic Belgian pale flavor, but really delicate and well integrated: cloves, bananas, sugar, light lemon; a hint of citric acid without cutting through the soft sweetness; chewy malt flavors.

Lively feel with noticeable foaming, but otherwise soft and sticky in the mouth. A delicate brew that somehow demands slow sips.

This is an exceptional Belgian strong pale ale. Similar brews: Duvel, NEBCO 668. This might be as perfectly put together as any in the style I've ever had. Truly exceptional balance and overall feel.

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Photo of Taybeh
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

From a bottle, into a tulip
A: cloudy pale gold, nice 1 finger head that then subsides.
S: coriander, lemon peel, grain and bread dough
T: follows the nose, but really progresses well. Starts with sweet kiss, then some peel and bitterness, and a little pepper, then some malty goodness, then a little more bitterness at the end.
M: Absolutely fantastic, on this front, and it progresses wonderfully, with each stage feeling a little different. Crisp, the flavors pop, then its creamy and smooth, then it ends a little dry, but not too much. Good carbonation. Fairly light bodied.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**Acquired from a trade with my good buddy Mike Roberts - thanks Mike.

A - Pours a pale yellow almost peach color. Cloudy with wispy clouds of white head.

S - Coriander, yeast, banana, grains, bread dough.

T - Phenolic, heavy yeast profile, bread grain. Low to medium body and creamy and slick mouth feel.

O - Interesting offering from RR - a solid brew that is worth a try, but I wouldn't trade for it again.

Notes - I drank this with just over year of age on it.

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Photo of dar482
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

The beer comes in a hazy golden orange.

The aroma has banana with spice. Then onto lime, dried apricot, and sugary sweetness.

The flavor follows with orange peel, a refreshing quality, despite its sweetness. Then onto clove, sweet apricot and peach. A clean drying quality in the back.

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Photo of santomark
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

A - Pours this hazy lemon yellow color, tints of orange, soap white head, poured slowly so about a nickels worth of head. Very active yeast in this one.

S - Spice, banana, lemon peels, orange peels, citrus peels, fresh baked bread, molasses, sweet tarts.

T - You need to be quick with picking this one apart. One minute you taste it, the next it's gone. Upfront you get the sweetness, molasses, a spotting banana, ends with a great citrus peel taste, lemon, orange, very refreshing. Towards the end you get a very nice malt presence, and the alcohol abv is pretty evident in the left over taste.

M - Light bodied, the yeast and sugar content really get the carbonation going, at times it feels like a soda. Great pale ale features with dry finish.

O - This is extremely refreshing. I wish this came in a 6 or even a 12 pack. Sadly RR doesn't offer their beers this way. This one is really unique, the banana and citrus peel notes give it that classic Belgian taste. The dry finish from the pale ale style really gave this a refreshing finish that left me wanting more. Moreover, the star of this beer was the yeast; it flawlessly combined both of these great styles into one wonderful and unique beer. A must try for anyone that is a fan of the style.

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Photo of coriswrasse
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

deep into the flight of all beers at the brewery. this is a excellent golden ale. great malt flavor with a slight hop back. nice Belgian flavor. smooth and consistent.

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Photo of LittleDon
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Beautiful presentation, big fluffy head, cloudy and golden. Very typical of the style. Dry, medium-light, bitter finish. Fruit candy element in the aroma and taste.

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Photo of SFNC
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

This one poured a nice dark golden with a minimal head, even though it seems plenty carbonated. The smell is faint, but pleasant, with a light cirtus, peppery smell. The taste is dry and spicy with a funky aftertaste and a dry effervescent mouthfeel. It has a champagne feel to it. What started as a merely satisfying drink turned into a very enjoyable one by the finish. This is my first taste of something from Russian River and I must say that they live up to the hype on this one.

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Photo of sfprint
2.5/5  rDev -39.3%

Batch 71

A: Beautiful orange color, with very little visible carbonation. Cloudy with little fish pellets of yeast on the bottom.
S: Mild heavy honey.
T: Pretty sour in not a particularly pleasant way. Sour and slightly heavy. Underneath that there's a nice
M: Slightly astringent with basically no carbonation
O: Disappointing. But would be pretty good if the sourness didn't ruin it.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Riedel tulip. The liquid is a cloudy orange with tons of bubbles rising up to form a huge, pillowy four-finger head that rose up instantly upon the gentlest pour I could muster. Leaves a thick sheet of lace down the sides of the glass as you drink it.

Aroma is very Belgian - yeast, dried lemons, grapes, banana, cloves, pineapple, apple cider, light coriander, and just a hint of funk. Plus a lot more that I can't really name. There's definitely a vinous quality to it, and the aroma is weirdly thick, especially when you swirl it around. Really nice and complex aroma - exactly what I would hope for.

Taste hits your mouth like a soft feathery pillow stuffed with bananas and bread (not banana bread), which then explodes with all the other flavors from the nose, with the addition of a spicy, peppery hop character. Finish is raisins, figs, and grapes, with a perfect little alcohol kick. Aftertaste is dark fruit, and incredibly clean - not too sweet or too bitter. Wow - all of the flavors really work together to be maximally delicious. Really incredible!

Mouthfeel is wonderfully pillowy from the generous carbonation, and really silky. Body is moderately thick, but helped along by the carbonation. Works perfectly for the flavors.

Overall, really delicious beer that I wasn't all that excited for, since this is what I got when I passed through Santa Rosa but missed out on Pliny. But I just feel totally blown away by it. Makes me really eager to try some other strong golden ales!

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Photo of TWStandley
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage poured into my HF wine glass. Been sitting on this for a while and decided to give it a whirl.

Appeared a clear, golden yellow color with a modest white head that dissipated relatively quickly, leaving minimal lacing on my glass.

Smells of Belgian yeast, slight tart lemon and cherry notes. Smells quite balanced.

Taste is amazing. Light Belgian flavors mixed with a bit of sour funkiness. I love the subtlety of each flavor. Very approachable and refreshing.

Mouth feel is lively and refreshing. Shocked by the carbonation even after this long in the cellar.

Overall a delicious treat. Blew away any expectation I had. Went in not knowing really what to expect but coming away quite pleased! Yum!

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 3,778 ratings.
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