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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

458 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 458
Hads: 1,151
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 15.4%
Wants: 358
Gots: 274 | FT: 11
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 458 | Hads: 1,151
Photo of VashonGuy
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 11, whenever that was (bottle bought at brewery about three years ago), poured into a wine glass.

Salvation starts out with a big foamy head that lasts, and lots of lacing. It's dark amber, but not inky black like some stouts. The aroma is mild, but my sniffer is never the best, so discount that.

The taste is the thing here: this beer is chocolatey and raisins, not too sweet, maybe just a little tart or a little bit of Belgian funk slipping in there. The ABV is hardly noticeable. It's a terrific beer to drink, or maybe sip, certainly not to guzzle. Did I mention how incredibly smooth this beer is? Medium carbonation.

I've got to get back to Santa Rosa to pick up some more!!!

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Photo of neenerzig
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My good buddy Jon Passow, who as of a few months ago became the Manager of Barrel Room Operations at Anderson Valley, sent me this in a package from northern, CA recently. Poured out of a 12.68 oz bottle into one of my tulip glasses, this beer pours a very dark brown color with a slight hint of deep ruby high lights when held to the light. Has a slightly tan, very creamy/froth looking head that is about a good solid inch when first poured with excellent retention. Some pretty good lacing too, but man this head just does not want to quit! Aromas of dark fruit such as plums, raisins, dates, and perhaps hint of apple along with a hint of spice and some dark sugar. The taste pretty much follows suit, with a slight malt caramel sweetness upfront that gives way to big dark fruit flavors of the aforementioned plum, raisins, dates, and a hint of red apple followed by brown sugar and nice spices. I think I detect some Belgian candy sugars and peppercorn. Just a phenomenal flavor profile! Has a slightly crisp, but mainly smooth, creamy, and frothy, just slightly prickly, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a slightly dry after taste and man does that sweetness really linger! You really just want to keep drinking the hell out of this and you wish that your glass was never ending. WOW!!!


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Photo of sgameroz
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If you're into Belgian beers, this hits the mark. It's not my preferred style, but tasty nonetheless. Roasty, toasty malts and some sweetness from the sugars and yeast make this a decent beer. I'd stick to the RR sours though if I had a choice.

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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.

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Photo of CJNAPS
4.79/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was surprised how dark this poured a nice dark brown. The flavor was really nice the hops and malts were perfect together. I'm glad i have another one of these to enjoy.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Russian River

A: Pours dark brown with a light tan head that settles and laces very well.

S: Very slight tartness, dark fruit, some spice, and dark sugar sweetness.

T: Roasted malt, a touch of light coffee, dark fruit, plumb and cherry, nice spice, and toffee sweetness. Hides it's % very well.

M: Towards the heavier end of medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 6 bottled January 2008 and consumed a few days short of seven years later. This one is aging wonderfully. Dark fruits, brown sugar, yeast. Solid brew.

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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.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

bottled 4.18.12

a - poured a 1/2 finger thick tan head into a tulip glass. the body was dark brown with red edges.
s - dark fruits like figs and plums.
t - dark fruits like figs and plums with some caramel sweetness.
m - bubbly and lively carbonation.
o - another complex winner from RRB.

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Photo of WesM63
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 10. Poured into a Cantillon wine glass.

A: Pours a dark brown with a small head and lacing around the edges.

S: Faint but smells of figs, raisins and dates and dark roasted malts. Some biscuit notes as well.

T: Close to the nose with some toffee/caramel added. A medicinal astringency peaks through and warms as it goes down.

M: Medium body and medium-high carbonation. Just a hint of warming.

O: Overall, excellent beer. Very smooth, refined and slightly dry. This isn't as thick as other top and readily available beers in this category, but it does drink VERY well. Will drink again when the opportunity arises.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring cellar temp bottle into a snifter, the bottle says Batch 005. The beer pours a dark chocolate brown color with creamy beige head of 1 cm after a gentle pour. Head remains as a sturdy tightly packed edge layer for the entire sampling. Nice lacing on each sip.
The aroma is rich and malty with some chocolate powder and dark fruit. I get red grape and raisins with some brown sugar and a little booze.
First sip reveals an average body with smooth gentle carbonation. Easy drinking smooth and gentle on my palate.
Flavor is rich and malty with brown sugar and raisins dominant throughout the tasting. Some chocolate powder and a bit of bready yeast come through on the finish.
The booze is pretty well hidden with just a little warmth on the swallow.
Very well crafted and a big malty brew, I dont get any hop presence anywhere.
This is enjoyable and drinks very easy, could sneak up on me by the end of the bottle.

Worth a purchase if you see it.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.84/5  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.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.01/5  rDev -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

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Photo of themind
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
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!

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Photo of Flounder57
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of Stevedore
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.72/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of BobZ
4.34/5  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.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
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!

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Photo of kevanb
4.05/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of mxchap
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Overall [4.25]: Cohesive and delicious. This beer doesn't break any barriers or feature any gimmicks; it just is. And it is great.
Look [3.75]: Deep, dark brown. Not much in the way of head with a straight down the middle pour. Minor lacing. Tight ring of bubbles around the rim.
Smell [4.25]: Follows the taste closely.
Taste [4.5]: Spice and dark fruit (plum and raisin). Malt flavor tends towards caramel (as opposed to bready or roasty). Little bit of fusel.
Feel [4.25]: Fairly acidic. Well carbonated. Slightly chewy. Goes down nice for the style and abv, maybe a little too easily.

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Photo of GuzzLah
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 458 ratings.