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Damnation | Russian River Brewing Company

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1,134 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: 1,134 | Ratings: 3,763
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a super clear very active with bunches of bubbles rising to keep the head frothy for quite some time. Even after a couple minutes it still has oodles of bubbles rising, and the head doesn't look like it will be letting up any time soon.

Aroma: The aroma is really faint and it is almost hard to pick out anything. There is a little bit of a wheaty graininess here as well as a subtle citrus. I get a bit of dryness that seems that it may be attenuation.

Taste: The flavor is much bolder than the aroma suggested. This is actually a pretty complex beer for being so light. I definitely get some citrus in here as well as a sweet malty backbone. This beer is really attenuated and has a bit of a tartness to it that reminds me of a Brett addition like Orval. The flavor is very clean and dry with only a tad of sweetness to linger on the throat for a while. Late after the sip, there is a subtle warming that sets in, but it is very subtle. The finish is clean and refreshing.

Opinion: This is a really good beer. I would certainly put it in the category with Orval. The flavor is mild and clean with a wealth of complexity deep within the beer, that certainly becomes more noticeable as it warms. I am enjoying this beer, and I would certainly try it again if I get the opportunity.

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

Batch 007

Pours yellow golden color and I swear as it was coming out of the bottle there was a pink color to it like a blush wine. Small white head but it maintains nicely. It's bolstered by the steady flow of carbonation off the bottom of my Chimay glass. Smell and taste are full of apple. Very faint pepper taste that becomes more prominent as it warms. Very dry finish. From what I recall, not as bold and fruity as the other Russian River's I've had but certainly very enjoyable. A RR is always worth trying and I've never been disappointed. Have a Happy New Year!

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

appearance: Fluffy, long-lasting white head with some raised "islands." The beer is a deep golden color with some sediment settled on the bottom of the glass.

smell: Clean pale malts, sweet orange, light coriander, white grape, and white pepper. Very well balanced with nice, delicate aromas. Papery hops.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the higher end of the medium range, and very smooth. The body is light without being thin. Delicate.

taste: Clean pale Belgian malts supporting light to moderate spices and fruits with an aged, papery noble hop flavor. Notes of coriander, banana, and pear (label). The gentle bitterness cleans up the finish really wall. A very well built beer with great balance.

drinkability: ez

bottle split with dirtylou on my 3rd stay in Mad Town

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

750ml bottle split with blackie, obtained a few months back in a trade from maybe clickpush. batch 009

appearance: pours into wide mouth wine glass...glowing apricot-golden body, big white foamy head with great retention/lacing. solid appearance in all aspects

smell: fresh and zesty, apricot/peach, well spiced but not an extraordinarily overpowering aroma

taste: very nice balance of fruit and spice...apricot/peach/white grape, lightly syrupy, white pepper and zesty spicing...light citrus, sweet toasted malt, light banana. pretty tasty

mouthfeel: well balanced, creamy smooth

drinkability: high

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

Poured out a golden yellow, about 90% head at first, with a white chunky bubbly white head. mmm. Lacing like crazy, all over this house. The nose is malt and Belgian spice. A bit of citrus, even some hearty yeast. The taste had hops, alcohol, pine, yeast, spice, light fruit, malt, and honey. Has a slick mouthfeel with a very tiny prickly bubbly sensation.

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Photo of DrJay
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly clear straw yellow colour with a dense white cap of foam. The fine bubbles clung to the glass, producing thick lace, and the head retention was quite good. The aroma was mostly sweet malts with notes of citrus, bread, and spice. Mild flavour with a low bitterness, spicy sweet malts and lemony citrus. Low carbonation, medium bodied, with a creamy texture. Very tasty, mellow, and very easy to drink.

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Photo of isaac
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle to snifter.

A - Golden, hazy body with visible carbonation. One-fingered, off-white head that sinks to big bubbles and clumpy lacing.

S - Malts! Belgian yeast, sweet pears, and spices.

T - Malty breadiness, again, some pear with added banana. Dry hops finish with notes of the citric, american style.

M - So. Very. Smooth.

D - Delicious. Amazing. Could have this every day.

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

pre-holiday tasting at my place attended by me, DrJay, Viggo, biegaman, and northyorksammy. DrJay contributed this bottle. thanks jay!

pours a pale yellow with a huge white head. drops slowly and leaves lots of lace.

aroma is nice. bit of funk. light cracker malt. bit of vinegar. light citrus. bit of spice.

taste is great. nice crackery malt. light sourness. mild bitterness. light citrus. just a bit of spice.

mouthfeel is good. nice carbonation level and good body.

drinkability is great. well balanced. this is a very interesting and tasty beer.

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Photo of weeare138
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's in Norristown...
Appears a light gold with a small, soapy white head that quickly fades out. Small spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of light fruit highlighted with mild banana esters and spice. A remnant of doughy yeast comes through with gentle pepper aromatics and a touch of earthy spice.
Taste is similar to the aromas with a large base of pils malt filling out the flavor that's complimented by light fruit and spices.
Mouthfeel is smooth, semi-sweet for the most part with a light, mild bitter bite at the end.

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Photo of HossMcGraw
3.64/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally tried a bottle of this a Monk's Cafe in Philly. Pours a golden hue with ample head and generous lacing.

The aroma is odd. Reminiscent of a typical Belgian pale, but with some serious hopiness. Taste follows suit, as this reminds me of a Californianized version of a Belgian beer, which I suppose is exactly what this is. Very hoppy and dry finish. Not unpleasant, but unexpected and strange.

Mouthfeel was full and rich, but the drinkability was hindered by the strangeness of the brew. I applaud the brewers' tenacity, but for me, the hoppiness and the Belgian sweetness did not mesh.

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

Labeled batch 13, and 7.75% ABV.

Golden color. Fluffy white head like marshmallow, looks good. No amazing staying power, frequent swirls are in order. Nice lace.

Smells mainly of fruity and solventy esters. Sweet golden apple, white grape juice, banana, peach, solvent, coriander, clove. Appetizing.

Taste is fruity, somewhat sweet, with some warming alcohol and solvent. Some acidity. Hints of coriander (leaf plus seed), green apple, honey, clove. A little mild hop bitterness and flavor. Fairly long finish, getting drier, more acidic, more alcoholic.

Great mouthfeel. Creamy carbonation, fine and well controlled. The acidity also influences the mouthfeel.

Damnably drinkable.

Good beer, and interesting. Aggressively stylized, this is no Duvel copy.

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

Thanks to Boolshot for this bottle.
Drank from my Duvel chalice. Pours a golden color with a huge head. Took a while for the head to recede enough to drink.
Has a somewhat fruity/wine like smell in the nose.
Taste is very good. Smooth and creamy, and you can taste the vinous, wine like characteristics. This is a very good tasting beer. Very enjoyable and I hope that most of the Belgain Pale Ales that I have yet to try are this good.
If you haven't tried this one, It's worth getting your hands on one.

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Photo of goschool
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 14 (There's no description for 14 on the website). 750 ml bottle from Whole Foods in Woodland Hills, CA. The cork has a, don't use a shaker pint glass, sketch on it.

Appearance: The pour is bright orange with a white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: The nose is very yeasty. There is light fruity notes, namely green apple, lemon, and peach, as well as something that may or may not be coriander, spicy hops, and a bit of funk.

Taste: The taste brings everything in the nose together and calms it all down for better or for worse. Belgian-style yeast, spicy hops, citrus, peach, a sour funk, warming alcohol, and sugary sweet malts, which come out every so often. Part of this beer is having an identity crisis and wants to be a saison.

Mouthfeel: It's very dry and medium-bodied with lightish carbonation.

Drinkability: I haven't had a Duvel in while, but this has to be at least fairly comparable and it was more than a dollar fifty cheaper (I know. Now I can get that Ferrari I've been wanting).

Music: Bette Middler. I'm not joking. I had "Wind Beneath My Wings" stuck in my head after hearing it on a TV show.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting, but not really my cup of tea. Under the assumption that this is supposed to be something like Duvel, it sure is much more complex, but not nearly as smooth and refreshing. As such, it is not devilishly drinkable like Duvel.

The beer looks good enough. Pale golden with an amber hue. Decent carbonation supporting a thick white head. Retention leaves something to be desired, but lacing is decent.

The smell is probably the best part. Complex yeasty aromas of banana and pear with a rich hay-like malty aroma. Has quite a complex spiced aroma as well. Light hint of candi sugar.

The taste is good. Much like the nose, but the barnyard hay-like flavor is much more intense, and not quite as pleasant. Has a dry and spicy finish with a touch of candi sugar. The hay flavor lingers long into the finish. Meh. A little disappointed in this one despite the wonderful things I've heard about Russian River. It would make a decent saison, but the fact remains that the hay flavor is too over-powering in the taste, and it doesn't seem to mesh with the rest of the flavor profile.

I am still very much looking forward to the other RR beer I still have in my cellar, however. This one just didn't live up to my expectations. It was alright, but kind of a chore to get through.

Thanks to dogfooddog for sending this. I am very thrilled to have been able to try it, among other quality California brews.

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

This is my second beer review ever, and I will always put out a disclaimer that I review beers for my own benefit and in my own words, so I can remember each beer and how I felt about said beer.

Only having tried one other Russian River beer - Pliny the Younger, which was not the best experience for me as I do not like very bitter beers..so needless to say, I was a bit afraid to try Damnation because of that experience. Good thing I don't judge a book by the first page because this beer was a great surprise!

I've had this bottle for months now, and finally decided to take the plunge. Poured into a tulip with a nice, 1/2" frothy creamy head - one point for Damnation! I am still developing my senses to pick out smells and tastes in beers, and trying to pick out the smells in this one proved difficult for me. Nothing hits you in the face as far as smells go, a nice mild aroma of maybe banana? Very, very slight citrus, but not like grapefruit...hard to describe, as you can see. No strong yeasty smell either. Very nice!

Okay, when I finally take a swig..same thing..very mild, smooth, not overwhelming in one taste or another. But don't get me wrong, it's definitely NOT boring either! It's got a complexity to it that keeps you interested.

This may be one of my favorite Belgians to date! I could drink many of these!! Well, maybe not MANY as the ABV is kind of high for me..around 7%.


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Photo of jeffjfindley
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I actually avoided this for a long time, because the label looks like album art from a bad 80's metal band. Once poured, it's beautiful. Golden color with a cascade of carbonation, and a thick pillowy head.

The smell is great, with a rich spiciness and some cedar and a trace of hops. The taste is also nicet, with a banana flavor stepping forward as it warms. Unfortunately, the taste score was affected by the fact the hops are too prevalent, especially for the style. A little more time in the bottle wouldn't hurt, but it's a fine tasting beer with a pleasant but unremarkable mouthfeel. Drinkable, certainly, but won't find it's way onto my desert island list.

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

750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Batch 014 - 7.75%ABV.
Appearance - Mildly cloudy peach color with a finger of of white foam that sticks around for a while.
Smell - Ripened pear and tropical fruit. Belgian yeast, and spice
Taste - Lemony malt, earthy. Sweet at first, then sour and mildly bitter.
Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with high carbonation as expected.
Drinkability - Went down really nice. If somebody else was buying, I would have another bottle, but at $13 (bar price), I'll go home content that I got to sample another excellent beer from Vinnie at RR.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.45/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a bright, neon yellow body with a frothy white head. Light lacing.

Smell: Yeasty, fruity aroma of bananas, apples, and citrus.

Taste: Light, doughy maltiness with bananas, lemons, pears and little to no hop bitterness. Dry yeasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. High carbonation; this one's fairly fizzy.

Drinkability: I doubt I'd reach for this again anytime soon, as I had a hard time getting fired up about this beer.

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Photo of Cresant
3.36/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 750 ML, corked and caged brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. Batch 011. Tall bright white head sat atop a clear orange/golden body.

Smell was of fruit, primarily ripe pear. Mild grainy maltiness arose as it warmed.

Taste was initially tangy and malty. Lively hoppiness. Dry, understated pithy citrus flavors. Fruity finish with a tart linger. Restrained, no one element cracks you over the head. A well put together beer. Not spectacular, but enjoyable.

Mouthfeel was active. A zesty, foamy champagne-like texture. However, it was not too much, it was just right.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml brown bottle, batch 003.

Polished brass. Pillowy, tall eggshell colored foam that splotches the glass with big bubbled lace and curtains of fine veils. Rushing lane of fine bubbled carbonation. Fruity aromas of pear, washed cloves, lemon pith, and a splash of alcohol as well as a touch of fresh honey. Sweet honey glazed banana slices as well as some pear flesh leads into a light clove, candied orange peel, and pepper finish. Possessing that fine bubbled RR carbonation, this is a touch sweet up front before drying out a bit in the finish. The spiciness accumulates on the tongue before rushing down the throat all at once, but still remains smooth. Medium bodied with a nice lightness to it, the honey sweetness is not at all cloying. I was surprised that this had not dried out more over the last 18 months.

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Photo of sleazo
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at O Briens

Deep golden colour with minimal head. Not much smell either.
Starts out almost like a hefe. Notes of charcoal come through after the banana/clove dissipates. . Mouthfeel is almost chalky and the beer is fairly flat, not much carbonation to speak of.
It did get better as i drank it which led me to give it a 4 for drinkability

I am wondering if prehaps the tap was a bit off and i didnt get a good sample of the beer. A very mediocre offering from a great brewery, i was dissapointed in this.

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

Tasted on-tap 10/09/06 at Tria Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.
Advertised as 7%.

Hazy pale golden with a decent white head and good carbonation throughout. Fruity almost banana-like character with lots of spiciness from the yeast and hops. Alcohol is evident as it warms but never overly so. Medium bodied and smooth with a spicy dry finish.

A very nice solid Belgain Strong Ale .. My first RR beer and certainly won't be my last !

Per RR website: 7.0%ABV / 1.068 O.G / 25 BUs

Gold - 1999 GABF (Belgian Style Ale Category)
Silver - 2001 GABF (Belgian Style Ale Category)
Silver - 2004 GABF (Belgian Style Ale Category)

($6.50 / Pint)

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

Everything a belgium should be.
Beautiful golden orange pour in the glass with light misting of yeast with a full finger of snow white bubbles that melts to sticky thick lacing.
Aroma is pure belgium...belgium yeasts and tropical sweet fruits.
Taste is again absolute belguim....oranges, pineapple, lemons, belguim candy sugar and belguim yeast.
Very complex but hard for me to describe...a perfect belgium.

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Photo of deuschbag
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

batch #008

750 ml corked bottle pored into a snifter. this pores a light cloudy golden color with a big white fluffy head that lasts forever

smell has a light sour lemony zest with notes of wild fruits, grapefruit, bananna, yeast, alcohol, and hops

taste has fruits, sugar, yeast and leaves a nice sour bitter aftertaste. very pleasing.

medium bodied.

this is my frist experience with russian river. definitly won't be the last.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip class)

A- This beer has a warm glowing apricot color with a faint hazy and a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles. There is a thick soapy head that last and last and turns rocky after a bit.

S- There is a light perfume note with a faint sweet yet pretty neutral pale malt note with hints of white sugar and white raisins. A hint of grapefruit bitter hops in the finish. There is a slight yeasty bread hint as it warms.

T-There is a pleasant bitter pungent earthy green hop flavor with a note of grapefruit zest. There is a note of dry apricots and a perfume with other white fruit hints. The finish is bitter hops that very smoothly blends from the other flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that feels more full due to the fizz in the body. No alcohol heat in this beer.

D- This beer has the complexity flavors of a Strong Pale Ale with a lot of dry notes. The hops are really kicked up but they are well blended with the other flavors in the beer. It would be nice to taste a bit more sweetness to balance the hops and give it more depth in the malts. Perhaps that is why they call this Damnation and not Salvation.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 3,763 ratings.
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