Monday, May 21, 2012

Russian River Damnation

Yes it's episode #666, now can we all just acknowledge that and move on? I've had this bottle of Russian River Damnation in the fridge for quite a few months. I got it in a trade with Ryan aka and no, I didn't deliberately hoard it until this episode. I just never really got around to it. I'm like that with a lot of things. Anyway, enjoy this deliberately anti-climatic episode.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (666) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 20, 2012
American breweries make a lot of Belgian-style ales under the umbrella term of "Belgian Strong [pale or dark] Ale". Russian River is pretty famous for their line of Belgian style beers, so I went into "Damnation" thinking it was going to be another homerun from them, but it wasn’t. Not that it’s a complete strikeout, though, as it is a tasty, satisfying brew that’s not a challenge to drink.

I received a 375ml corked and caged bottle from a friend in California (thanks, Ryan!). I poured it into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Perfectly golden colored, almost completely clear but a little hazy with high carbonation visible. Forms a large, white, soapy head which mostly dissipates but does leave some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Surprisingly muted nose with light lemony notes and a hint of spice.

Taste: Russian River Damnation should be a big beer, but it’s not. The palate is remarkably light all around. Mild citrus and flower notes to begin, with more earthy, spicy notes on the second half. The finish imparts a touch of hop citrus flavor and accompanying bitterness, but the aftertaste is quite clean and refreshing. Interestingly enough, the palate doesn’t really open up or develop as the beer warms. It’s essentially the same few notes over and over. Not that anything here tastes bad, but I’m surprised by the lack of robustness and complexity. The citrusy flavors certainly are satisfying, but they seem so mild.

Drinkability: I was genuinely surprised by how light the body and mouthfeel was to this beer. Thin, crisp, clean with a noticeable, but tame, carbonation vibration. It goes down smooth for the most part, although some does get stuck in the throat. For 7.75% ABV, Russian River Damnation is quite refreshing and has zero alcohol presence. This would be a great beer to introduce someone to Belgian beers since it doesn’t overwhelm.

Grade: 7/10

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