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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

968 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 968
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 334
Gots: 209 | FT: 6
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: 968 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of grittybrews


4.38/5  rDev +7.1%

Poured a rich, dark brown into a tulip with two fingers of light khaki head. Aroma of rich caramel, Belgian spice, and fig.

High carbonation and a light, dry mouthfeel. Strong biscuity caramel up front followed by gentle spice and dark fruit with a lingering cinnamon/nutmeg finish.

Really balanced with almost no discernable boozy character. Sweet (but not too sweet), easy-drinking, and delicious!

05-22-2011 04:55:17 | More by grittybrews
Photo of LiquidBread219


4/5  rDev -2.2%

A - dark, almost black; rusty-copper in the light. About a finger of cream-colored head that dissipates into a ring around the glass. Lacing doesn't retain, but it slowly creeps downs the sides.

S - lots of malt, dry belgian yeast, bread, and a bit of hops in the backend. Some grapes, figs, and other dark fruits are present, as well.

T - lots of malt, bready belgian yeast, dark fruits, a vinous grape-like flavor, and lots of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), finishing rather dry.

M - pretty carbonated and full-bodied.

D - extremely drinkable: very smooth, not too sweet, not too bready, not too alcoholic. Not the best BSDA I've had, but pretty exceptional and well-balanced.

05-21-2011 17:50:24 | More by LiquidBread219
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

This one has been sitting around in the fridge for a couple months waiting for me to try it, so last night was the night as I was in the mood for something different. Poured a very deep dark and hazy brown with a huge tan head of gooey and foamy lace. Lots of visible carbonation throughout the session. A nice concentric ring of side lace was left throughout and some sediment was visible. The smell was interesting, lots of yeast and spice, but for some reason seemed muted, and at the same time kind of sweet. The taste was very full and robust. Lots of flavors with hints at dark fruits and a nice rounded earthy back. There was a slight tart like twang in the bite and a short finish that I thought could have been more drawn out.

Overall this was an odd one, there was nothing really bad at all about it, but it just did not really stand out to me as anything fantastic other the very smooth nature of it. Almost silk like it was solo smooth. This was definitely a nice triple, but to be honest I have had better. Thats ok though it is still a very good beer and something I would say you should definitely try if given the chance.

05-21-2011 00:42:13 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of GilGarp


4.35/5  rDev +6.4%

375 ml corked bottle served slightly chilled into a Watou goblet.

Salvation is a dark redish brown color with good clarity seen on the pour. It develops a nice thick crown of head that settles very slowly. Nice lacing left behind.

The aroma is very pleasant and reminds me why I love this style. Rich and complex with dark fruits and warming spices.

The flavor is also really enjoyable. Sweet up front turning slightly roasty in the middle and finishing dry. The fruit from the aroma comes through here too. Raisins and figs combined with clove.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Nicely balanced and the alcohol is well hidden.

Overall an excellent version of the style. It's a little expensive at $6.99 but worth a try if you enjoy the style.

05-18-2011 00:04:01 | More by GilGarp
Photo of Haybeerman


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

A: Clear brown color, ruby in strong light. Poured a 3 finger coarse dark tan head that dissipated evenly to a skim. Laced in sticky spots.

S: Dark fruit; prune and dates. Spicy and boozy.

T: Like the nose. A molasses and caramel sweetness transitions to a dry and warming finish. Pretty simple and straightforward.

M: Medium-to-full body. Moderate carbonation. Sweet dry and warm was comforting on the palate (though ABV was a little harsh).

O: ABV a little daunting. Solid strong dark; flavorful, nice balance of malt and yeast characters.

05-16-2011 19:39:45 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of beerpirates


4.05/5  rDev -1%

Big thx to Thijs ( brabander ) for bringing this beauty to the tasting,
Thx buddy !

22oz bottel poured into my tastingglass @a tasting with some awesome BA's -:)

A: Pours a dark brown color with some amber hues. A big thick tan head with minimal retention.

S: The smell is very sweet smelling. Aroma has a lot of malt, molasses, dark fruit, caramel and apple scents. Very robust and pleasant.

T: A lot of brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits, alcohol,some caramel. It is sweet, but not overly sweet.

M: A full bodied beer that leaves a nice thick sweetness on the palate.

D: This is a must try for anybody. Despite the higher ABV, this complex beer is easy to drink.

05-16-2011 16:56:42 | More by beerpirates
Photo of KeefD


4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

Big thanks go out to kevinv for hooking me up with this long time want as an extra! Pours a very dark mahogany brown color with a HUGE three finger head that becomes rocky and frothy in the Duvel tulip. I don't think this head is ever going away! Thick rings of lacing everywhere. Damn, this looks great! Aroma decidedly Belgian in essence, lots of grain, straw, yeast, caramelized sugar, a touch of chocolate, and light booziness. Very nice! MmmMmmm! Yep, delicious caramelized wort in the flavor, along with some raisin, milk chocolate (which is surprising), a touch of banana, more grassiness, red wine, and a chalky Belgian yeast finish. Yep, this is damn good, and about as close as one can get to the true examples (St Bernie Abt, Rochie 10, etc). Carbonation is very lively and rather sting-y, had to do a lot of swirling to get this where I wanted it, and the result is a lucious, creamy, sweet, full-bodied brew. Yep, this is great stuff. Another RR brew that does not disappoint. Thank again for this one, Kevin!

05-15-2011 23:13:54 | More by KeefD
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

Bottle graciously gifted by Darrell. Thanks man!

The beer is chestnut / mahogany in color, with a full figured head that leaves a healthy amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of yeast, malt, dark fruits, spices. The flavor is well balanced and pleasant. This doesn't quite measure up to the great, authentic versions of the style, but is quite enjoyable nonetheless. The feel is really smooth on the palate, with alcohol content well hidden. Overall, another solid effort from one of America's finest breweries.

05-13-2011 22:32:15 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of TheFightfan1


3.58/5  rDev -12.5%

Poured into a chalice a coca cola colored beer with a 2 1/2 inch off white heading. A nice pour but foamed up very quickly and almost overflowed.

Smell is more tart then I would have have anticipated. Some sugar candy in the nose as well to add to this odd aroma. Some darker fruits as well.

Taste is surprisingly fruity with a charring malty backbone.Some chocolate in there mixed with a subtle spicey touch.

Mouth is very alive and tremendous on the palate. Slightly chewy with a clean finish.

All and all one of my least favorites from Russian River but hey it isn't bad by any means.

05-12-2011 21:13:15 | More by TheFightfan1
Photo of waltersrj


3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

375 ml C&C bottle.

Pour: Medium/Dark Brown with a small dark tan head that quickly dissipates leaving small bubbles around the glasses edge.

Nose: Caramel, dark fruits (plum/fig/dates), alcohol and molasses.

Taste: One dimensional (like the nose), caramel, dark fruits, molasses and alcohol burn which is too noticeable for this style.

Mouthfeel: Slightly carbonated, slightly oily. This seemed a bit undercarbonated as well as heavy for this style.

Overall: Not bad, just nothing that stood out to me. Worth the lower $6 price for a RR beer but i'd gladly pay the $12 for any of their sours before this one again.

05-12-2011 18:58:53 | More by waltersrj
Photo of dvb


4/5  rDev -2.2%

A - Pours a deep, dark brown. Minimal head that leaves no lacing.
S - Smells of sweetness and dark fruits. The alcohol is there, but there is so much else going on here that it doesn't warrant much notice.
T - Slightly sweet and somewhat boozy. A hint of molasses. Someone else mentioned fruitcake and, for me, that is not a bad thing. This mostly tastes like a nice, rich doppelbock, only brewed as an ale rather than a lager.
M - A little heavy, but not overly so.
O - I want another one. Or two. But the wife only bought me one.

05-11-2011 01:58:26 | More by dvb
Photo of HuskyinPDX


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

375ml bottle poured into a HotD Tulip.

A- Dark brown with a huge, thick tan head, about 2.5 fingers in size. Great retention and some lacing.

S- Roasted coffee, fruit, and slight citrusy.

T- Roasted malts, barley, slight coffee and chocolate, old fruit and spices.

D- Lively carbonation, a touch oily in the mouth.

05-09-2011 05:54:43 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of khumbard


4/5  rDev -2.2%

Batch 10. The beer pours a very dark brownish red, with a fluffy white head that sticks around for most of the beer. Smell is full of belgian yeast, some banana, clove, and dark fruit. Taste is nice: fruity, earthy, not much booze, pretty solid. Mouthfeel is a little bit thin, with high carbonation, and finishes pretty dry for a belgian strong dark. Overall this was a nice, american made, belgian dark ale. This, along with a couple of Allagash beers are the best american efforts at the style I've had. They just don't quite stand up to the originals. I would gladly have this one again though.

05-07-2011 02:47:22 | More by khumbard
Photo of IdrinkGas


3.35/5  rDev -18.1%

Batch 10 poured from a 375ml bottle into a snifter

A: Poured gently into a snifter. I still get a huge 3 finger creamy head with good retention. Beer is a watery dark brown color.

S: Mostly dark fruit and Belgian yeast mixed and some earthy notes.

T: Mainly dark fruit and Belgian yeast. A little earth and some raisins in the finish. Not a whole lot going on.

M: Crisp with lots of carbonation.

O: Worth a try but I won't be picking up anymore of this one.
Just an average Strong Ale. Really not much else to say about this one.

05-05-2011 22:03:57 | More by IdrinkGas
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.13/5  rDev -23.5%

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.

05-05-2011 16:30:43 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Outchillen


4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

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

05-05-2011 16:22:45 | More by Outchillen
Photo of Brabander


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

I had a beertasting yesterday evening with my cousin Bert and his son Michael. After a while Mrs. Brabander joined the tasting. I used small Westvleteren and La Trappe tastinglasses.

I got this beer last week as a gift form Matt (CRooney5787) and his girlie Fien. We had a grand day visiting the abbey of saint Sixtus (picking up the 12 and the 8) and a visit to the Struise Brouwers where Carlo poured the BD5 out of the tap for us.

This is a cloudy blond unfiltered beer with almost no head. No problem though, the beer is good with some nice spices in it. We enjoyed this beer Matt, thanks!

05-05-2011 10:08:36 | More by Brabander
Photo of Mebuzzard


3.15/5  rDev -23%

This darn thing has a ton of foam in it. A 333ml bottle (or whatever....the small bottle, y'know) with about 10 gallons of foam. Looks nice when it calms down.

Dark brown, muddy purple, black body. The head is off white and somewhat dense. Just takes forever for it to reach drinkable level.

Aroma is over ripe apple and alcohol. Lightly toasted dark bread and yeast come through. Somewhat sour.

Taste is where this beer falls a bit. Nothing really stands out. Slight black plum and dark bread. Nothing pops. If the yeast didn't produce the breadiness I don't think this would have much. Alcohol comes through. Feels a bit syrupy with carbonation running wild.

Although not a bad beer, it seems to be a bit vacant.

05-04-2011 09:25:02 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces


3.68/5  rDev -10%

This is an exceptional beer, but still I feel that it is amongst one of the worst Russian River beers in production. Apologies in advance, review follows:

A: Very dark color, black with some deep red at the edges, incredible carbonation. three finger head

S: alcoholic sweetness with some black cherry, fig, and clove

T: Very interesting with a few layers to it, at the outset a mild sourness that flows into a coffee toffee finish, not quite stout in nature, but with a quick alcoholic burnoff. The appearance would expect more stout biscuit notes. The hops are understated and do not dominate the other delicate flavors, its a quick moving house of cards that is assembled and resolved quickly.

M: The mouthfeel is a clean finish similar to an IPA, however, the deep malt color would anticipate greater coating and chewiness. The carbonation notes are on point and provide a good bouquet for the finish of the beer. Dark ales are tough to pull off on mouthfeel because they straddle various areas and styles but this beer provides a valid niche for itself.

D: This is where this beer is most lacking, it has many interesting notes and it well balanced but ultimately it is not a beer that you want to repeat over and over, and it's not for lack of precision or mastery within the beer, it just feels like a style that isnt particularly suited for any specific weather or situation. Maybe I just don't like it as many as others as a style, but it feels like a unique beer to try, but not a mainstay.

Narrative: "we should do this more ofTEN!" you open up your posture and lean hesitantly back "oh yeah...i know why dont we, yeah we should!" a slight wavering in your voice. This was all going so well, but God does she grate on your nerves relentlessly. "I've got this thing next month and you know, the week is always hectic" you look down at your shoes, the lies in the air palpable in a thick mist that she seems impervious to. "well totally, I will work around you, I will call you tomorrow ok? 2 pm?" You can't believe you are still standing in the entryway of this apartment complex, this could not end soon enough, yet it started so pleasantly. Maybe it was the way she smacked her food, told the same story 6 times with slight variations, smacked her gum, or asked you prying personal questions. "Yeah no 2pm is rough, pretty much all times are tough, so hey I gotta do this thing but...keep in touch k?..." You rock back on your heels and slink towards your car. "Sure, well I will touch back and we'll work something out" For all your will, for all her shortcomings, you know in 6 months, your curiousity will return and you will inevitably come back to her. The exotic sweetness, with all its lack of grace, becons.

05-04-2011 06:53:09 | More by SubpoenaDeuces
Photo of kiddynamite920


3.78/5  rDev -7.6%

Batch #10, 375 ml into a Chimay goblet.

A: Noticed the cork sliding out of the bottle while untwisting the cage, huge pop and a very slow gush began. Maybe a bit too warm. Poured out a very dark red/brown color with huge fluffy head that is retaining very well. Looks sticky and is leaving clumpy lacing as it recedes.

S: Distinctly Belgian yeast aroma that provides some banana and sweet caramel aromas. A bit of spice of clove and some fruity esters that pair quite nicely. The sweet fruits here of apple, pear and plum play very nicely with the quite aromatic yeast.

T: Not particularly overwhelming, the sweet fruits come through and are finished with a nice drying bitterness. More tart fruits come into play, with some cherry flavors. Little spice, but it just finishes with a strange bitter taste.

M: Very full bodied, the excellent head retention provides a creaminess with every sip. Quite a pleasant beer to sip on. Can't get over this strange astringency on the finish though...

O: Would definitely say this is a solid American take on the BSDA style. Has its ups and downs and certainly is no Chimay Blue, but for $6-7 a bottle it may be something to revisit.

05-04-2011 02:06:30 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of nhindian


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

375ml bottle poured into a Russian River "-tion" glass. Bottle provided by jodan, thanks Jordan!

Batch 010.

A - Pour is very dark, deep brown nearly bordering on black and completely opaque. There's a huge, 2.5-fingered, active head on this beer that reminds me strongly of Allagash beers as it's formed of tight bubbles and is incredibly foamy and thick that disappears quicker around the edges than the middle, leaving a plateau-like structure. Retention is absurd, lasting pretty much for the entire bottle. Lacing follows this excellence, leaving a thin coating around the whole glass.

S - Honestly, after I poured it I took a quick sip and wasn't completely blown away, but sitting down with this beer and actually analyzing it after it warmed gave me strong hope. The nose is certainly bready, but is complemented by rich, dark fruits and generous Belgian yeast and candied sugar. Specifically, I'm getting lots of raisins and grapes, bananas, and apples. It also has a slightly dry mustiness to it as well, something resembling a crisp saison that imparts some spiciness to it. All of this and not a hint of alcohol to boot. An incredibly balanced and enticing aroma, I could smell this all day.

T - As in the aroma, the taste begins with malts and their breadiness, as well as some candied sugar. This imparts a sweet beginning that is modified with the impending yeast and fruit and it's a rollercoaster ride of flavors. The raisins definitely take the stage in the mid-taste, combining with the sugar to give a distinctively-Belgian flavor. The spice comes through afterward to clean everything and provide a springboard to the surprisingly dry finish. The alcohol is a bit more noticeable here than in the nose, but still not enough to be a problem. Overall the taste just seems a bit muddied compared to the clarity in notes in the nose, but it is still very respectable.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with good carbonation. Adequately carbonated to style and helps everything keep moving smoothly. Pretty dry for a Belgian Dark, but I'm certainly not complaining. Residual sweetness and fruits linger on the palate.

D/O - Drinkability is high. For a brewery half a world away from Belgium, Russian River certainly doesn't disappoint with this beer. In terms of the buying again in the future, I'd like to stock up some for aging, but as I can't get this near me, I will have to seek out some alternatives that can compete with this.

05-02-2011 05:36:50 | More by nhindian
Photo of fragilehearted


4/5  rDev -2.2%

Yum! 375ml bottle, batch 10, poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - very dark murky brown pour, extremely large (4-finger) head. Head retention is ridiculous on this one - in a good way - sticks around forever. Lots of lacing. Really beautiful. More than halfway through the brew, there's still a complete cover over the top.

S - sweet. Very fruity - cherries, currants, banana, raisins. A little spice too.

T - fruity, but not as fruity as it smelled (which is not bad by any means). Smooth roasted malts, Belgian-style yeast taste. A little spice at the end...just the right little hop bite to give it a little extra but not to overpower the malts. Finish is actually dryer than I would have expected.

M - carbonation is fine. It's pretty smooth, but it's a little more drying than I'd like.

D - very, for the style. It could be a little less drying, but overall not a lot of complaints about this offering from RR.

04-30-2011 09:50:36 | More by fragilehearted
Photo of Arbitrator


4/5  rDev -2.2%

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. Batch 10, 375mL.

Surprisingly, this is a first-time review, not a re-review. I wonder why I've never gotten around to it.

A: Pours a very effervescent beige head on a seemingly opaque dark brown body. Retention is outstanding, with a thick cap on the beer and tons of sticky lace down the sides of the glass.

S: Apples, raisins, and multi-grain bread. Mild elements of roast that border on cocoa -- this reminds me of Unibroue's Trois Pistoles on the nose.

T: Green apples, raisins, figs, and a caramelized grain sweetness. Multi-grain bread. The roast / cocoa touches I picked up on the nose aren't very strong on the taste. Spicy finish (combination of pepper and clove) with a touch of grainy sourness.

M: This beer is semi-dry on the finish, with carbonation appropriate for the style. No trace of booze despite the relative big-ness of the beer. Medium-plus bodied, though the effervescence makes it feel lighter.

O: This is a great example of an American Belgian-style SDA. I shared a three-year vertical at a past tasting, and found that the beer ages remarkably well: it becomes slightly drier, and flavors of plums and brown sugar develop. I've socked away a few bottles of this to recreate the experiment. I'm not bowled over by a young bottle, though.

04-28-2011 21:15:26 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.85/5  rDev -5.9%

375 mL Batch 10 cork and caged bottle poured into a goblet.

Pours a dark, clear chestnut color with a thick creamy yellowish tan head. Excellent retention and minimal dots of lacing.

Aroma is malty and smokey, dark candi sugars, ripe fruit, trace spiciness. A little helter skelter, but pleasant.

Flavor is sweeter than the aroma, more candi sugar in the front of the body and drying yeast in the finish. Not overly complicated and the sweetness is a little one dimensional, but not a bad American take on the style. Body is medium light with heavy, fine and smooth carbonation.

Well managed alcohol and smooth flavors, but this is still a sipper. Not the best RR or best of the style, but pleasant.

04-21-2011 23:19:47 | More by yourefragile
Photo of dbmernin83


4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

on a mission to try all of the -ation beers from Russian River.

Very dark with a huge pillowy head. not what i was expecting from a strong dark.

Alcohol and dark fruits on the nose.

Raisins and other dark fruits, alcohol present, but not overpowering, and a nice sweetness on the end.

big carbonation, full in the mouth. creamy and delicious.

a great offering from RR. delicious and highly drinkable. they hould sell these in a 4-pack

04-20-2011 06:33:53 | More by dbmernin83
Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 968 ratings.