Thursday, August 4, 2011
Review - Russian River Damnation
Damnation is a highly carbonated beer that is a bright gold, and sports a beautifully thick, almost meringue-like head that only bottle fermented beer seems able to achieve. Its aroma has some sweet notes but is mostly reminiscent of champagne. The flavour is incredibly dry, again almost champagne-like in character, but does have some notes of apple and a very mild character of horse blanket. Its finish is again very dry, but not in a satisfying way, more in a bland and tasteless way that lacks complexity. I enjoyed this beer, but nowhere near as much as I had anticipated.
I was shocked by my impression of this beer, one I expected to blow me away. I suppose it goes to show the dangers involved when one has expectations about a beer before trying it (This obviously applies to much more than just beer). I was so surprised by this that I looked up the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) style guidelines for Belgian Golden Strong Ale, to see if I was missing the point. Although, I don't really like rules that govern how beer should be, firm styles do give structure and allow us to group beers into categories in order to brew and understand them better. With brewing, as with so many things in life, it is necessary to know the rules before you can learn how to break the rules, and it is from this calculated deviation that some of the world's best beers are born. But I digress... big time. In the guidelines it states that the overall impression for a beer of this style is supposed to be "A golden, complex, effervescent, strong Belgian-style ale." It was the "complex" part that seemed to be missing and this is my main reason for liking but not loving this beer. I hope I don't get any hate mail over this review.