FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 26, 2004
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: AUG 28, 2005 Batch 002, Sampled April 2005
As I pour this beer I get sharp fruity notes of pears and apples as well as a note that reminds me of wildflower nectar. The beer pours a lightly hazy gold color that is topped by a frothy three-finger thick pale head that is held aloft by a persistent carbonation. As I go in for a deeper smell of the aromatics I notice that the nectar quality of the aromatics has increased. There is also a light spicy quality to it that reminds me of orange peel, coriander, a hint of and ginger. The aroma is soft and floral yet has some astringent notes that one might pick up from a hearty flower on a weed.
As this beer hits my tongue for the first time it almost disappears because this beer is fairly soft and also because the carbonation causes it to foam up as it flows across my tongue. This beer is fairly dry with a hint of sweet grain character that rounds out the middle and finish of this beer. The taste is quite pleasing and quite quaffable, I get soft notes of lemons including a bit of acidity, some notes of pear, vanilla, chamomile, and soft ginger. There is a soft astringency in the finish that is a combination of hop bitterness and yeast derived characteristics. There is a definite soft herbal component to this beer, from the soft spicy overtones up front to the light astringency in the finish. It reminds me of the balance that a good fresh cut basil makes, though I do not pick up much in the way of basil actually in this beer.
Overall this beer is very soft, and oh so drinkable, which is certainly the definition of a Belgian Golden Ale. The flavors are really well integrated, and there is certainly a very good balance between the soft flavors of malt and fruit and the notes of spices, astringency and hop bitterness. The more I sit and sip this beer the more impressed with it that I become. At first I did not think that this beer had enough huza/ oomph to it, but in the end this lack of over-the-top flavors is what makes this beer so enjoyable. If one looks to the prototypical Duvel, it certainly does not bowl one over with flavor. Damnation is a wonderful interplay between the simple malt & hop notes and the soft, sometimes sharp, yeast fermentation characteristics. Vinnie this is a classic example of this style and it is done quite well, I am not sure which one I prefer Duvel or Damnation, I guess I will just have to do comparison.
Sampled June 2004
Pours a hazy deep straw color and is topped by a creamy off-white head. This has a spicy aroma that has notes of apple. The nose is both fruity and dry at the same time. Paradoxally the taste is dry but sweet in the finish (usually this is found in the reverse order in most beers). This has a very nice herbal character in the finish. The front and middle of this beer evokes notes of apple. This goes down quite well, with a bit of astringency in the finish that balances the fruitier components of this beer quite well.
<font size=-4>Purchased: <a href=http://www.russianriverbrewing.com>Russ River Brewing<font size=-1>
HumuloneRed (751) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUN 21, 2004
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Immense rocky head with good lacing. Murky yellow/gold color. Sour nose with some pineapple and citrus. Sour taste but not too sour. Smooth silky texture. Nice finish.
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 14, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draught @ O’Brien’s San Diego
A special treat as I had the current batch and the one year old batch, rare to get a two release sampling. The beer pours a clear gold to amber color with the head white and modest in size, the texture creamy with the resultant lace a slender skirt to seal of the glass. Nose is sweet and crisp with a bit of yeast, hints of coriander and peaches; nice blend of aromas, start is lightly sweet, nice grain profile with the top fair to middling in feel. Finish is stern in its acidity, the hops perfect, the ABV gives a snappy end to the beer, dry and lingering aftertaste.
hopscotch (9228) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - JUN 12, 2004
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
On tap at the Liar’s Club in San Diego...
Sparkling clear, golden ale with a small, creamy, white head. Decent retention, good stratus lacework. Spicy aroma with notes of pear, coriander and apricot. The well-balanced flavor is fruity and spicy. Medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Lengthy, fruity, dry, spicy finish.
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 7, 2004
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
2003: This brew pours with a cloudy golden body topped by a thin to medium thick white head with some lacing. The aroma is slightly sweet and slightly bitter with a grassy note, a nice spiciness, a touch of orange and a slight yeastiness. The flavor is slightly sweet and slightly bitter with a nice spicy note and a touch of orange. Medium bodied, relatively smooth and slightly dry.
DarkElf (3035) - La Jolla, California, USA - JUN 3, 2004
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
(Draft: O’Brien’s in San Diego, CA)
2004 vintage: None of the Russian River Belgians hit you over the head -- they’re all somewhat restrained interpretations; Damnation seems the most clearly "Belgian" of their 5 offerings; Sweet and spicy with banana and clove and a fair amount of bitterness, especially in the finish; Higher alcohol content is noticeable, but not overwhelming; Medium bodied, but a little sticky on the palate; Dark golden/apricot color and fairly cloudy; Whitish head disappears quickly
2003 vintage: Compared side-by-side with the 2004 vintage, and this is quite different from the 2004; It’s still spicy, but It’s less sweet and has a distinct orange peel flavor toward the finish; The aroma is definitely on the sour side; Head retention is much better and leaves considerable lacing; I modestly prefer the 2003 version, but the grades are kind of an average of the two
Sickboy282 (1115) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 2, 2004
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
On tap at o’briens-aged one year. Pours a hazy orange in color with a nice fluffy white head. Flavors of yeast and oranges and a light bitterness.
Easy2Slip (4) - penngrove, California, USA - MAY 12, 2004 does not count
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
on tap at the brewery...how lovely is it to have calfornia brewed belgian ales on tap in northern cal???...great brewery, great bartender, great prices......Awesome ale....it was my favorite of the belgians they served
bb (6858) - Alamo, California, USA - APR 24, 2004
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Draft. Orangish color that's spomewhat hazy. Strong banana aroma. Maly, a little citrus, some fruit (apple?), and spice. Clean finish. Light body. It's good, but it's just lacking some depth.
MrDick (347) - San Francisco, California, USA - APR 15, 2004
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
GABF 2003 Another great Belgian style ale from Russian River! Malty caramel flavors with a spicy undercurrent. Cinnamon and nutmeg spices dominate but are balances out by bouquets of fruit. Very nice.