Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,130 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,130
Reviews: 464
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 349
Gots: 272 | FT: 12
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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 05-09-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,130 | Reviews: 464
Reviews by zoso1967:
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one came out of the tap a dark, orangish-brown in color with a huge, retentive head.

Smell – The big dark Belgian yeast smelled delicious. I picked up what I thought were some light woody notes in here as well. The complexity of the malts was amazing. I found myself wishing I had a thesaurus to help describe these smells. Let’s just say it was a big, complex, malty BSDA.

Taste – The sharp toasty yeast was very doughy on the tongue. The malts themselves were, again, very thick and complex. I could pick up a hint of banana along with some alcohol notes that seemed just right for the size of the flavors.

Mouthfeel – This wasn’t full-bodied but was bigger than medium. There’s a light alcohol sting to this 9.4% batch and the ale was very creamy in the mouth. The carbonation was big and fluffy and seemed perfect for the style.

Drinkability – This one is closing on 10% ABV and it is smooth as smooth can be. What a great beer!

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 shared during the 2006 World Cup Final

Appearance: Dark and ominous burnt chestnut with quickly diminishing almond froth that rests at a thin skim around the ring of the glass.

Aroma: Raisons and sweet malts, a touch of coffee, and kiwi and strawberries as it warms. Vinous dark fruits are present at room temp.

Taste: Sweet vinous qualities dominate the initial flavors but eventually make way for more complex subtleties. Hints of chocolate covered bananas and dates in the middle, then kiwi and strawberries, and finally alcohol and coffee like roastedness.

Mouthfeel: Front is crisp. Middle is mostly sweet, wet dark fruits with minimal under-ripened strawberry/kiwi tartness. Finish is dry with a coffee like sharpness. Body is on the light side of medium.

Drinkability: Above Average.

A solid beer, lighter in most aspects than many others in the style and more about subtlety than in your face bold complexity.

Photo of MadScientist
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A very enthusiastic head with three finers of light tan foam from a gentle pour. The beer is a dark brown with garnet highlights and great clarity. The head is long lasting and leaves a thick sticky curtain of lacing on the glass.

S: A great balance of dark fruit and tart aroma being mostly plums, prunes and red current with some sour cherries. there is a a moderate malt aroma with a bit of caramel and some toasted grain aroma.

T: Dark fruit and spice with a light sour flavor blended in. Medium-high dark cherry and plum dominate the flavor. The Belgian yeast provides a moderate peppery spice and fruitiness. There is some malt sweetness with a bit of a chocolate flavor. The bitterness is low but there is a moderately-light sour tartness that increases the prescription that is is more bitter than it really is although the alcohol is also countering the malt. The balance is somewhat bitter and tart. the finish is off-dry and the aftertaste is of chocolate and spice.

M: This a creamy, medium-full bodied beer with moderately-strong carbonation. The alcohol brings a noticeable warmth.

O: A great Belgian Strong Dark that isn't very sweet, which I like and has a bit of a tartness which I really like.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 001.

Pours into my glass a dark cola brown with ruby accents. An inch of khaki foam on top with great retention. Lots of active carbonation as well. Aromas of chocolate malt upfront with a good blast of spice. Hints of banana and earthy Belgian yeast tones.

First sip brings more crisp chocolate malt upfront moving into a blend of spice and fruit flavors. Earthy yeast kicks in on the way down. Nice sweetness that is not overpowering and great balance overall. Raisin and toffee afterthoughts as it finishes a bit dry. Good, chocolaty stuff.

Smooth body with creaminess and perfect carbonation. A tasty treat that has aged quite beautifully in my opinion. I will have to seek this one out again and would love to try it on tap someday.

Photo of Outchillen
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #10, picked up a 12 pack in philly, think it was a little overpriced out here at $90 a 12 pack

A: Loved the small belgian bottle, pouring with a nice off white head, looks like maybe refermented with champagne yeast, nice dark amber brown color

S: Smelled the belgian yeast right away, spicy, with a little banana and cloves

T/M: Starts off sweet and mildly malty, a little fruity, but finishes a little dry, nice creamy head that lasts

O: Was impressed but not blown away, waited a while to try a RR beer and it is good for the hype. A very nice Belgian beer, but not the best

Photo of NWer
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10
Poured rich thick brown into my Chimay chalice. Thick brown head lasts forever. Beautiful. Picture perfect.
Initial aroma hint - rootbeer? really? Not for long. Nice flow of flavors from the pop of the cork.
A sipper for sure. Complex, bold, thoroughly enjoyable. Quickly becoming a fan of the style.

Photo of tigg924
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay Chalice

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, cloudy, dark red/brown in color, some sediment, low carbonation

Smell: cherry, fig, oak, and brown sugar

Taste: cherry, figs, light caramel at the end—sourness throughout.

Mouthfeel: sweet start—big sour/bitter spike in the middle, very dry—light bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall: A very good and complex Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Not the best from Russian River I have had but one of the better in the style. Its dryness would only make me want one glass at a time though. This one has elements of a Flanders Oud Bruin which I enjoy. I will look for this the next time I am in the Philly area.

Photo of badbeer
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Murky brownish red color with a white head that has good retention and lacing. Smell is of dark fruit, clove, and pepper. Taste seems to remind me of Trois Pistole, in that it is a rather spicy Belgian Dark Strong Ale, and I also get the same clove and dark fruits in this. Light bodied with medium carbonation. Very well done, I'd like to give this another try.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to someone for sharing this at the most recent Freetail bottle release party. Sorry for not remembering who provided it.

The beer pours a deep brown color with a tannish head. I get a lot of spice in the aroma with some dark fruit notes. A very enticing aroma that also has a nice Belgian yeast component to it.

The flavor is very similar. I get a wonderful mix of Belgian candy sugar and spice notes in the flavor. I also get some nice Belgian yeast notes as well as some raisins, cherries and other dark fruit. The alcohol is very well hidden and allows the complexity of the aroma and flavor to really come through.

The carbonation is perfect for the style and the beer is extremely drinkable. Proof that Russian River is one of the best breweries in America when it comes to brewing Belgian-style beers.

Photo of Pliny_the_Self-righteous
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Draft @ City Beer Store on 1/19/15. Pours a dark brown/burgundy with minimal tan head. Aroma of malty, raisin sweetness with some banana, cola nut and spice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy. Palate of dark fruit, malty sweet, cola and spice. Well balanced dark belgian with great aroma and flavor.

Photo of magictrokini
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear brown with an off-white head. Rich, dense aroma of brown sugar, corainder, clove, and a bunch of sweet malt. The flavors follow through without being heavy-handed or syrupy in the mouthfeel. Malt, caramel, figs, yeast, banana, cinnamon, and even some hops all shine. Very, very, good beer.

Photo of deebo
3.97/5  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.

Photo of pat61
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%

Very winey nose with some tartness and fruit.
Pours opaque brown with a 1” off-white foam cap that quickly dissipates to a thin film.
Exceptionally creamy, fruity, malty palate that leads to a mild hop bitterness on the finish. A light tart touch suggestive of tart cherries balances the rich malt. Very complex yet well balanced between the malt, hop and tart.
Very fine soft carbonation and big flavors hide the alcohol very well.

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.86/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into my Duvel tulip this BSDA pours a menacingly deep, dark brown with an equal impressive massive head. I wasn't expecting a BSDA this dark with a name like Salvation.

S: The nose contains notes of dark chocolate, dark plum, bruised apples, and toffee. The noise lacks complexity that I like in my dark Belgiums, but that is what sets this apart from a dark Quad.

T: The flavor has delicious notes of toffee with some clove and fig. Not that complex, but beautiful in it's simplicity.

MF: The mouthfeel can improve with a more fuller, smoother feel.

Overall, this is a great beer and true to the style. A good intro beer for people who want to get into what a Belgium style can offer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.14/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark beer, dark, ample head. Aroma was big and bready. Didn't pick up sweetness even though the aroma was singularly prune.

Taste, damn thick fruitcake like bread with dates in it. Turned me off, reminded me of that crappy stuff that gets put on the table to eat around the holidays. Clove sticks its head out. One aspect I was able to appreciate was the edge of cocao. Still can't overcome the date and plum dominance. One of my least favorite Russian River beers (drank this at the brewery). Come to think of it, this IS my least favorite.

Photo of OStrungT
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown color, with a thin, white head. The head fades slowly, leaving a good amount of lace.

This beer smells or spice. Coriander, and cloves. Also, it smells yeasty. I detect the alcohol content as well. Also, I can smell some dates

This beer tastes much like it smells. Spicy, with some coriander, cloves, and grains of paradise. It has an earthy yeast flavor also.

This full bodied beer goes down surprisingly smooth, leaving a spicy aftertaste. Carbonation is just right.

I dont know how great of a session beer this would be. It tastes great, but it is high in alcohol, making it hard to put down too many.

Overall: Another great beer from Russian River. I would drink this beer again in a heartbeat.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark amber color. Large foamy white head. Good lacing.

Smell - Aroma is of caramel, bananas, cloves, spices, and tropical fruits.

Taste - Caramel malt with mild chocolates, bananas. The other tropical fruit(s?) combine provide a mild sourness which adds a nice character. The cloves and spices .

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

Drinkability - A good American BSDA.

Photo of jeonseh
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a caged and corked bottle from Batch 006 poured into my crystal snifter

A - A very, dark plum that just borders on almost being black. Pours a very nice head creamy head that sits on top and composed of a ton of little bubbles and leaves a nice lacing. Really see nothing at all getting through this and has a reflective quality to it.

S - Smells a bit like a Hefe at first as I get a big whiff of candied bananas. However, also get the scent of brown sugar and also dates that adds some complexity to it. Terhere also seems to be a hint of lemon peel.

T- The first taste is banana but a lot sweeter than usual as it reminds me a bit of a candied banana. After that, the beer becomes a bit tart as I get a taste of apple. There is also a port like characteristic to it and also a hint of port. Rather complex but on the whole the apple and plum seem to be the flavors that dominate and stick around in the end. There is a bit of alcohol that also comes through and creates a nice warming quality in the beer and think that it makes its presence known in a good way.

MF - Overall a lot of carbonation on this one which makes it at first seem kinda harsh. However, after that rough initial burst, it starts to smooth out a bit but not enough to fight off the carbonation. Even after drinking it and letting it sit for awhile, it just tingles in my mouth almost uncontrollably. I think on the whole that it was a bit too carbonated for my taste.

D - Overall, an okay beer from RR. It was my first experience with them and have to say I felt a bit disappointed. The falvor was good but the carbonation mixed with the taste was just a bit too much for me. I really had to think hard about whether I wanted to have the rest of the bomber or not. Still want to have some other beers by this brewery just not this one.

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by jophish17 - thanks!

Pours a dark purple color with ruby highlights and a one-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of slightly tart dark cherries with good amounts of figs and plums and mild amounts of unsweetened cocoa.

Tastes good. Unsweetened cocoa flavors up front are quickly overtaken by dark fruit flavors. The fruit flavors are not quite as tart as the smell would suggest but remain nicely fleshed out. Plums and figs mostly with hints of wet raisins. The ending is crisp and leaves hints of dark fruit lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is good. It has s solid thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily polish off a bottle of this.

Overall I wasn't sure what to expect with this beer but was pleasantly surprised. While the nose is a bit better and more complex than the flavor this is still a very well made beer and one worth seeking out.

Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap@Russian River Brewpub. Heavy sweetness, lots of figgy caramel flavours, with some late acidity to balance it out, bit too sweet though. Some sweet vanilla and pear also noticed, but not quite my cup of tea in the end, will definitely try again one day though.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)
Batch 002

A- This beer pours a dark warm brown body that is opaque at the top of the glass but lets light in the bottom 1/3 of the glass. There is a thick creamy light tan head that last and last and sticks to the side of the glass like a milkshake. There is a strong carbonation of microbubbles supporting the big smooth head.

S- The smell is very clean with hints of light brown sugar and a faint spice in the finish. As it warms there are notes of yeasty bread with a hint of sourdough and a slight sweet toasted bread note.

T- The taste of faint banana and caramel malt has a hint of yeasty flavor. There is a slight tangy hint in there aswell. As it warms the hint of burnt sugar and an even fainter toffee note finishes with a green spice hint with a note of pine in it. The alcohol taste comes through in the last few sips but the finish is nice and neutral for most of the bottle.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a light creamy texture at the beginning which might be due to the head and the carbonation, yet it does not taste fizzy.

D- This beer is very smooth and subtle. I liked the flavor but they were very hidden and it would be nice if they came through even more or had a big flavor or two to anchor the beer. The flavors were very well blended and it was hard to pull out a lot of the flavors.

Photo of Shane_Gr
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great slightly sour hint in an ale.

Photo of sloejams
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Salvation, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, was refermented - a second yeast added, when bottled. When poured into the tulip glasses, the dark, almost mahogany color. A slight head topped the well laced medium bodied ale. The aroma was big – the yeast shined through with flavors of raisin, banana and clove with the malt background.

The taste has an earthiness to it: it starts fruit than the roasted malt coffee then the subtle oak flavors. It’s very well balanced. This could class with any of the better Belgian Strong Darks: Gulden Draak, Chimay Grand Reserve, etc – something few American made Belgian beers could do.

Russian River suggests, “All in all, this beer could use some bottle age to mellow out.“ I think this is quite delicious right now, but I do have one saved cellaring. Russian River never lead me wrong before.

Photo of watermelonman
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This arrived as a great deep and dark color with very dark purple tones. There isn't much head but I'm actually getting a nice little lace down the glass here.

The taste is primarily of a fruit and berry mixture. Not like a fruit or berry beer, mind you, but like a well-done belgian ale with good layers of flavor. The grains are somewhat apparent in the finish. The alcohol content is evident in the smell but not the taste.

Photo of ggaughan
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was part of my stash I had shipped from RR to a relative in Minnesota and then my wife brought it back in her luggage from Mn along with 11 other RR bottles. The things you have to do to get great beer when living in Pa. Batch 001. This beer poured a brilliant dark amber color with a slight tan head. The aroma is a bit malty, caramelly and with a touch of fruit, maybe raisins. You also get a bit of the abv in there. Very pleasing to my sniffer. The taste is big. There is a great malt backbone with more raisins and figs. I also got some toasted notes, a bit of chocolate. The body is medium and makes for a pretty drinkable beer, even with an abv of 9%. Another fine beer from RR.

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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,130 ratings.