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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company


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913 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 913
Reviews: 447
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10%

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 05-09-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 913 | Reviews: 447 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of PHBoiler


4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smells like dark cherry, granola, and almonds. Bottle was purchased in 2012 at the brewery. Nice brown body with a light creamy head. Taste is similar to smell with dark fruit, nuttiness, and some grain. Really interesting beer and enjoyable. Not sure what age did if anything.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 15:19:25 | More by PHBoiler
Photo of BierJager89


4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruby red, with a light brown head.

S: Pineapple and roasted malt in the nose.

T: Dark fruit, pineapple and a bit of red wine.

M: Full bodied and smoothish.

O: One of my favorites in the style and one of my favorites from RR.

Note: Some detail has been lost, since I tried this a while back. Also, I tried this with 15 other beers, half of which were sours in a sampler at Russian River. I highly recommend doing so, if you live reasonably close to Santa Rosa, CA.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2014 21:30:48 | More by BierJager89
Photo of thecheapies


3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch #010. Poured into a clean snifter.

A finger of buttery beige head crowns the beer. The liquid has some good opacity to it. A near-solid dark garnet/mahogany color.

A big pumpernickel toast bread note, upfront. Mild cinnamon and dry prune notes. Other dark fruits, including raisin and black currant, with a hint of underlying maple. It's unorthodox, at least now, at this age.

Medicinal phenols, brown bread toast, powdered clove, cinnamon, prune, raisin, oxidized apple, and bitter cocoa. I can't tell if it's past its prime or not, but the malts are a little thin, and Salvation is very dry. The dark breadiness is intense, however, in a really good way. Almost a sensible rye-like spice.

It's lighter-bodied for the style, but the carbonation is vigorous. Makes for an interesting mouthfeel.

Not a favorite of mine because I like, either, more sweetness or more richness. Or both. The spice elements are nice. But, I'm a little disappointed in Russian River right now.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 16:47:05 | More by thecheapies
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 7/10/13, cheers MasterSki and Sean9689 for sending the bottle

A maroon liquid with lots of bubbles feeding a massive foam that quickly falls to a thick film leaving a few random patches, second pour retains well and leaves a few thick rings of lace, perhaps a dirty glass

S plum, raisin, coco and licorice, has a little Belgian flair, just a little root beer as it warms

T more of the same but a little more intensity, has some spice and more chocolate then the nose, and improvement over the nose

M medium bodies, creams up a little then feels a little slick after the fact with some chocolate and cola lingering

O I just noticed this has 9.5% going on, I would've guessed 6 tops so I'm giving some props overall, this one just went down a little to fast

solid beer but not the best I've had from RR, impressed by how well they made the booze vanish, this one went straight to my head

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 03:23:37 | More by wordemupg
Photo of themind

New Jersey

4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This beer is amazing! deep brown color when poured into the goblet. The dark fruits, caramel and toffee come thru in the aroma and taste. The carbonation is slightly high for my liking otherwise this would be another 5/5 beer for me. What an incredible, refreshing, ass kicking beer that I could drink all night long. I really, really enjoyed this.

Bottom Line: Legendary beer!

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2013 23:36:24 | More by themind
Photo of Flounder57


4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

600th review. 375ml was poured into a tulip. Batch 10 and aged for almost 2 years.

Appearance: This beer poured a two finger off white head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark amber brown color with no clarity, but bubbles can be seen coming up the side of the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Spicy yeast, caramel and bready malts, raisins, figs, toffee, and boozy alcohol.

Taste: Effin delicious. Dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and bready malts, spicy yeast, and warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little dry, warm alcohol, medium bodied, and medium to high carbonation.

Overall: One of the best. Happy to have made this my 600th review. Wish I had more. Might have to grab 2 next time.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 04:01:44 | More by Flounder57
Photo of Stevedore


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml c&c bottled 4/18/2012, poured into a Russian River -tion stemmed glass and enjoyed today, 7/30/2013.

This beer pours a dark, hazy mahogany brown with a fluffy off-white head that requires patience in the pour. It is definitely a very bubbly beer with a thick film and collar once the head settles down. The lacing is definitely there in a light form (e.g. bubbles sticking to the sides).

The smell gives me a nice sweet dark fruit scent- faint cherries, blackberries, raisins. A bit of that particular fig flavour too.. very enjoyable to smell. There is a sweet toffee and brown sugar malt sweetness on top as well. A bit of alcohol heat too.

As I drink this beer, I'm getting a good bit of figs and raisins along with a brown sugar sweetness. Faint hint of cherry tartness in the background. The alcohol is mildly evident here and warms me up as it finishes. There is a nice spiciness on the back end, the Belgian yeasty type with cloves. The finish is warming and not dry at all. The body is medium, with very strong carbonation that makes this a refreshing yet warming beer to drink.

Enjoyable beer from Russian River. I liked this one better than NG's 20th Anniversary Ale, for instance. In terms of BSDAs, this is probably one of the better ones I've had. Highly recommend trying if you get the chance.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2013 02:26:00 | More by Stevedore
Photo of AndyAvalanche


3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12.68 oz. bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. Liquid comes out a nice dark brown color. When held up to the light, it's more of a cola brown color with lighter highlights. Small tan head that goes away fairly quickly. Ring around the edge of the glass for a few minutes, but that goes away a bit as well. Not too much in the way of lacing.

Smell is good, probably the best part about the beer. Lots of dark fruits as well as a mix of tropical fruits. All of the fruity aromas are overly ripe and past their prime. Everything is slightly funky but not over bearing. Its all good, but not too strong.

Didn't care for the taste at first but it grew on me, gotta let it warm up. Lots of dark fruits again figs, both sweet and tart apples, a bit nutty as well. There's a nice sweetness to it as well at the end. A lot going on and pretty well balanced.

Mouthfeel is good, full bodied. Nice carbonation level, a little rough and earthy. The flavors overall mesh well together, a nice dry finish. Pretty drinkable, a nice sipper. Good beer from Russian River, thanks for the sweet extra Geoff.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2013 02:57:42 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of Smurf2055


3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a huge pillowy head and lots of retention.

Smell is figgy, maybe a bit of banana and gum. Pretty malty.

Taste is sharp and bitter off the front. Figs and dark fruit come to the middle. Sourness and coffee come through on the back.

Bit rough as far as drinkability, full bodied.

Pretty good beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2013 05:06:42 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of BobZ


4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375cl bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown with a nice 2" head that recedes to a healthy cap.

Smell: Lot of dark fruit (mostly raisin and plumb) with a hint of molasses.

Taste: All of the proper components of a true Belgian strong dark ale. Dark fruit (again mostly raisin with some plumb) sweetness with an almost almond-like nutty flavor throughout. Depth of flavor without every becoming overly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth on the palate with a very nice clean finish.

Overall: The single best BSDA made in North America, delicious. If you like the style this one is a must try.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2013 18:18:02 | More by BobZ
Photo of Seanniek91

Rhode Island

4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 375ml C&C bottle from Batch 11. Around 50 degrees.

Appearance- Dark, hazy greyish/brown with two fingers of off-white head that left gorgeous lacing.

Smell- Sweet, boozy raisins, candy sugar, dark caramel malts, prunes, bready yeast. Very much quad-like.

Taste- Raisins, pipe tobacco, plums, earthy/bready yeast. No real booze presence. Mildly sweet, not as much as it smelled.

Mouthfeel- Rather heavily caarbonated. On the thiner side. No mouth coating.

Overall- Another winner from Russian River. Haven't had a bad beer by them yet!

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2013 16:42:26 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of kevanb


4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, batch 011, poured into a Russian River "Tion" stemmed glass.

The beer pours a deep burgundy color, touches of garnet and amber with a fluffy 2 fingers of off white head that has very good retention and leaves just a spot or so of lace behind. The aroma is fairly tame, dark pitted fruit, raisin, clovey yeast with some tannins and tobacco with some pepper on the finish, alcohol is masked nicely. Lots of plum and raisin on the tongue, backing dark grainy malt and cracked peppercorn with a bit of chocolate and leather at the finish. The body is nice, rich yet silky with a moderate level of carbonation that is just lively enough to dance on the tongue and it finishes with a nice smooth creaminess and warms slightly as it goes down.

Verdict: A nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale from Russian River that vastly improves as it warms. It does lack the deep complexity from a more authentic Belgian Dark, but this is one of the premier examples made domestically and a worthy brew for any Belgian lover.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2013 01:12:38 | More by kevanb
Photo of GuzzLah


3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a dark brown with almost no head and poor retention. No lace. Light bubbles.

S - low intensity until swirled. Raisin, bready malt, chocolate malt and cherry ester.

T - is similar to the aroma. Mostly raisin and mild chocolate.

M - medium-full body. Oily. Warming, boozy finish, but not harsh.

O - a well made BDSA that is relatively conservative in flavor and aroma. Not nearly as impressive as Rochefort, etc.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2013 01:22:39 | More by GuzzLah
Photo of mikem0487


3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

375mL bottled filled on 04/13/2012. Served into a Wicked Weed tulip glass.

A-A deep dark mahogany with a pinkies width off white head.

S-Rasberry, raisins and prunes for the estery nose. Some black peppery notes as well.

T-Dark fruits dominate the taste. Prune and raisin with a finishing spice. Some roasted/chocolate malt taste. Get some heat from the spice and the alcohol is hidden well. Dark cherry licorice is all over the palate.

M-Highly carbonated with a medium body.

O-A good beer for the style. Not my favorite however. To much licorice/prune taste that does not leave a pleasant after taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2013 01:19:16 | More by mikem0487
Photo of stephenjmoore


4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Cola colored body with some amber and ruby highlights. Tan head that lingers around as a layer of thin bubbles with good lacing.

S- Bready Belgian yeast, faint caramel and chocolate, raisins, slight hint of cherry, hint of pear.

T- A lot of unexpected Tripel flavors come through, with just enough darker malt flavor to let you know this is a dark ale. The darker flavors include the malt along with raisin bread, while some pear and spicy yeast flavors come through as well.

M- Medium to full bodied, but extremely drinkable. Not alcohol presence in the feel and good carbonation.

O- A very good offering, like all of the Russian River -tions. Solid and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 22:49:54 | More by stephenjmoore
Photo of JimTeal


5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just trying to keep it within the lines. This is one hell-ova beer. Served fresh at the wonderful Russian River Brewery pub, only one word for this, if you understand Belgian Style Dark ale, excellent. Perfectly balanced, subtle but substantial. Sweetness controlled by excellent malts and the background caramel simply teases the taste buds for a smooth finish that lingers on a tantalizing thread of wonderful elegance. Word association: chocolate, molasses, cherry, black grape. One review of this Salvation said this is not an everyday beer, it's a very substantial 9% ABV, lets hope it doesn't get to be too everyday. It is a sip and enjoy a beautifully crafted jewel from RR Brewing Co.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2013 19:56:17 | More by JimTeal
Photo of brodericksloth


4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

tasted on tap at RR and from bottle at home

thick creamy three finger head; deep brown color; good carbonation from refermentation in bottle. Nitro look

molasses with black fruit and plum scent

COFFEE with subtle chocolate, cherry and toffee. becomes figgy with time

no hop or alcohol noticed; very well balanced with enough dark fruits and all full palate secondary flavors of such complexity that you keep looking for more

Not a overly malty flavor; fruits carry it. Go ahead and pour the dregs; no yeast taste everything else covers it up

tastes a bit overcooked in the bottle; odd aftertaste; bought at RR; shouldn't be cooked. will try to age and see what happens; may mellow out

on tap a much nicer brew; not so figgy fruitcake

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 23:52:49 | More by brodericksloth
Photo of TheSixthRing


4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a near black, deep cola brown with a light tan, 3 finger head. Phenomenal retention, leaving behind a thick layer of bubbles on the surface. Lacing is spotty, with fair stick.

Smell - Dark sugared sweetness and an equal note of sourness, like black cherry.

Taste - Follows the nose- moderate dark sugary sweetness, also touching on chocolate, coffee and toffee, mixed with a light cherry sourness. Wonderful balance, finishing a touch more sweet than bitter, and with a bit of sourness too.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with live, but fluffy carbonation, leaving a light, dry finish.

Overall - A lovely beer. Nice, complex flavor that, unlike several of it's Dark Belgian counterparts, doesn't fall victim to an oversaturation of sugary sweetness. Great balance. This is one I'll definitely have to revisit when I make it up to the RR pub.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2013 06:28:55 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of dwagner003


4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is dark. Like, stout dark. It has an incredibly tight head that could leave a foam mustache. Not my favorite look, but impressive for the style.

Deep roasted malt smell, with a subtle sweetness. Almost has a little bit of a spicy caramel aroma.

The taste is of dark sweet fruits, with a slight coffee, boozy finish. The flavor hangs on your palate and gets sweeter as it subsides. It's heavy. Drinking more than 2 of these could be tough.

The mouthfeel is great. Slight carbonation, with a nice, smooth texture.

Overall, excellent beer. Perfect balance of sweet and roasted. Huge fan.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2013 03:57:55 | More by dwagner003
Photo of garuda


3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nearly black body, thick tan head has good retention and lacing.

S/T - Candied dark fruits, light roast, dark chocolate powder. Subtle spice.

M - Medium body, high, yet delicate carbonation level. Mostly smooth, with a bit of boozy heat.

O - I feel like this is a very good representation of the style with good depth of flavor. However, style is just not for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2013 12:27:20 | More by garuda
Photo of laituegonflable


3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant red colour, hints of floaties and haze. Head is beautifully dense, foamy and nicely packed with great retention. Specks of lace left around the glass; good.

Smells quite pleasant, but a little subdued. Malty, with some peppery spice, toffee, bourbon and a slight acetyldehyde maybe. But quite sweet, yeah, hint of cinnamon, which I could use more of. What's there is nice.

Taste is quite sweet mostly, with toffee and caramel malt, a touch of tartness - just a hint - that turns it slightly fruity on the mid, then finish is a little bit toasty, and still sweet, with characters of coconut, vanilla and crême brulée, but also a hint of burntness late, like overcooked toffee. Slightly nutty, yeah, it's a mélange of flavours I like, but it doesn't quite reach the heights of sweetness, roastiness or anything, and so it seems a little directionless in some ways.

Decent body, bit of foamy texture to it, slight boozey sharpness on the back. Yeah, alright.

Quite a subtle brew in some ways, and well balanced. Yeah, everything gets a look-in here, and it's very nicely crafted. Doesn't really sing to me, and yet I feel like there's a lot of love in this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 10:57:58 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of deebo


3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery this beer is served in a goblet with a thin skimmed layer of tan head. Clear and garnet. Aromas of rich toasted malt and hints of estery banana belgian yeast. Taste is decidedly Belgian. Rich malt backbone with a sturdy enough yeast character to carry the flavors thru. The malt is s bit heavy on the dark barley malt which has plenty of roast and slight chocolate flavors. Smooth in body with the alcohol well hidden into the finish of this brew. A nice beer. Better than many of RR other ventures into the world of yeasty Belgian beers this beer has some character and decently complex flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2013 15:11:29 | More by deebo
Photo of TotallyHosed


3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Stogies.

Large tan foam sits atop a very dark red color. The carbonation is evident in the appearance despite the nearly opaque brew. There's lots of lacing around the glass.

The nose is largely sweet dark fruits, such as raisins and figs, when the head is dominant. As the head dissipates to a veil, there is much more of a toasted grain aroma mingling with the dark fruits.

The flavor begins with a typical Belgian yeast flavor found in strong ales and dubbels. In the middle is a bit of an alcohol burn that does not last more than a few seconds. Finally, the flavor ends with a combination of toasted grains and slightly sweet figs.

The feel is right in the middle and does coat the mouth. There's just a little bit of tingling from the carbonation.

Overall, this is a solid example of the style. What I enjoy the most about this brew is that it has better than average balance. For example, the Belgian yeast does not overpower. It's great to be able to taste the malt backbone. My only critique is that I would like the alcohol to be better hidden. At the same time, it's not as off-putting as I have experienced from other Belgian Strong brews.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 01:01:51 | More by TotallyHosed
Photo of Lucho


3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served into RR tulip

Appearance: dark but translucent when held to light

Smell: some dark fruits but mostly malts and Belgian style yeasts

Taste: similar to the nose with sweet malts with a good amount of carbonation and medium bodied mouthfeel. There are some fruits, maybe figs or dates/grapes.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall: A good beer for the style. not my usual but a good all around beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2013 08:33:17 | More by Lucho
Photo of BMMillsy


4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In a trade from a very generous trader. Batch 11 printed on the corked and caged bottle. Poured 1/25/13. Dark brown with very little light coming through. Very very creamy kahki colored head. Aroma of raisins, cherries, and possibly a hint of smoke. Belgian yeast comes through and this gives of fruit qualities of a dubbel or quad. Some prickle up front from the carbonation and spice as a blast of fruit heads down your throat. Plums and berries all over. Very smooth. Finishes with a burst of unexpected chocolate and a lingering nuttiness. Chocolate really starts coming out with some more sips. Pretty thick mouthfeel, bigger than a porter but less than an impy. So creamy. I liked this!

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2013 20:51:38 | More by BMMillsy
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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 913 ratings.