Sunday, December 19, 2010

442. Russian River Damnation

dam·na·tion, n 1. the act of damning. 2. the state of being condemned to eternal punishment in hell.

This beer was a gift from Dave Williamson, who scored it on a trip out to California; traveling does always help with the chance to try out new things, and it is nice when that opportunity rolls down hill. As well, Russian River does like playing the definition game, and definitions are always nice as well. So there’s a lot of niceness revolving around today’s selection. And that’s nice. Previous selections from Russian River include Consecration, Temptation, Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. Drink on, my brothers, drink on.

Damnation pours a crystal clear straw color; the light white head quickly rings the glass, but small tight bubbles continue to flow, giving the beer something of a champagne appearance. The nose is very perfume-y—there are floral, spice, and fruit (mostly apple) characteristics, along with an earthy mustiness that strikes me as a combination of yeast and hops, or, basically, the classic Belgian golden ale aroma. Warmth leads to an increase in pear aromatics. Flavors start with a dry, crisp malt sweetness before moving towards light floral fruit flavors in the middle with apple and grape being the most distinct, followed by a light pear. The finish is a combination of musty and earthy bitterness, although the bitterness is light—it and the mustiness compete to be the last flavor on the palate. Damnation has a medium body with a bright but dry carbonation: there is a slight brut quality to the finish. While there might be a touch of alcohol in the finish as well, as a whole the alcohol is nicely subdued, allowing the other flavors to dance delicately across the palate, which was one of the strengths of the beer. As with all things Russian River, Damnation is a well-crafted beer, and much more drinkable than many of their other selections, although that ABV could quickly lead to trouble...

From the bottle: “In the great beer producing country of Belgium, there is a tradition among some brewers to name their brews something unusual. Often the name is curious, sometimes diabolical, and occasionally just plain silly. Damnation is a hand-crafted Golden Ale with an exquisite bouquet of fruit and spice with mouth filling notes of citrus, malt, cedar, and earthy hops. The smooth dry finish lingers until your next sip. Damnation is refermented in this bottle to create its fine carbonation. Spent yeast cells form a thin layer of sediment in the bottom of the bottle, adding more complexity and flavor. Pour slowly, allowing the natural yeast sediment to remain in the bottle.”

From the Russian River website: “In the great beer producing country of Belgium, some brewers have made it a tradition to give their beers an unusual name. Sometimes the name is curious, now and then it is diabolical and other times it is just plain silly. Damnation is our brewmaster’s interpretation of a Belgian style Strong Golden Ale. It has extraordinary aromas of banana and pear with mouth filling flavors of sweet malt and earthy hops. The lingering finish is dry and slightly bitter but very, very smooth.”

ABV: 7.75%
Batch: 057X1
Brewed: 4/26/2010
Bottled: 5/21/2010
OG: 1.068
IBU: 25
Primary Yeast: Abbey Ale Yeast
Conditioning Yeast: Rockpile

Oh, and we also tried a Stoudt’s Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal Stout bottled on 9/1/2004 this evening. The oatmeal creaminess was nice, and there was a subtle vanilla flavor that contributed well to the overall impression of the beer; it was enjoyable, but the flavors were a bit flat and flabby. But being that it was six years old, that is understandable.


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