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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: 335
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 dcsoke


4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

Served in a Belgian Abbey Glass poured from bottle.

A: Pours out dark and smooth, this beer is highly carbonated so leave plenty of room for rising head. Once the carbonation has settled there's a dense foamy layer that leaves behind nice lace on the glass.

S: Aromas of spicy phenols, Belgian yeast, and dried fruits are inviting.

T: Lightly hopped with a roast character. The alcohol is definitely present but rather complementing. Dry finish with a phenol aftertaste, not bad at all. Very complex beer.

M: Full bodied and lots of carbonation.

O: Great Belgian with huge character. Only wish it was available in the midwest.

04-20-2011 02:05:01 | More by dcsoke
Photo of BrewerB


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

Pours a deep, dark amber brown. Formed a light tan head that receded down thin but persisted. Good clarity.

Cloves, malty sweetness, brown sugar. Alcohol present but not hot/solventy. Toasty caramel malts and an overall rich malty presence. Esters, raisins. Would like more spice here and less of the clove.

Esters. Raisiny, rich malty sweetness with caramel and toasty malts most noticeable. Alcohol is there, too. Finishes medium with lingering sweetness. Very low bitterness level. Clove-like flavor seems out of place in style. Malt complexity could use more variety and less focus on the raisins and caramel.

Medium-full bodied, slightly creamy. Looking for a tad more carbonation.

Missing some of the malt complexity you find in some of the world-class examples while still maintaining a very drinkable beer. More depth and complexity would help increase interest and this seems to lose its luster after a pint.

04-19-2011 23:08:17 | More by BrewerB
Photo of ghetto90007


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

The weather's getting good in LA - it was a hot day, but cooled for the evening. I sat out on my 19th floor balcony watching the sun set over the city and poured from the 375 mL caged and corked bottle, Batch 010, into my Ommegang chalice. Life is good.

Pours an elegant dark brown, foaming up with a one-and-a-half finger light tan/off-white head.

Smell is rather enticing. Dark fruits - figs, prunes, raisins - some spice and Belgian yeast.

Taste starts off with what I can only describe as bittersweet dark malt, giving way to prune, raisin, fig, mixed in with Belgian yeast. Lingering in the aftertaste is an intriguing mild note of coffee or bitter cocoa. And it really hangs there for a moment. Adds a surprising dimension to this brew.

Medium body, good carbonation that delivers a bit of crispness as the beer settles on your tongue.

Argh, some street vendor is cooking bacon wrapped hot dogs, onions and peppers and the aromas are wafting up here. Not exactly odors worthy of this brew. This is a nice offering, although up against some tough standard-setters for the style. I view Chimay Blue and Rochefort 8 as the benchmark by which I judge all other BSDAs. A very enjoyable beer, but probably a full rung below the gold standards.

04-17-2011 03:15:10 | More by ghetto90007
Photo of NWer


4.53/5  rDev +10.8%

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.

04-17-2011 02:57:52 | More by NWer
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.18/5  rDev -22.2%

375ml bottle sent by the gracious newcomer to the trading world, Callmecoon (traders, check this guy out. He knows how its done.) Thanks a lot Steve!

Batch 010. Poured into an Ovila chalice.
Nice billowing, khaki colored head. I reigned it in at about 3 fingers. It fades to about a half finger in height and stays there. The retention and lacing are superb. I find it astonishing that there is such excellent retention in a big bowl of a glass like this, these wide mouthed chalices usually spread out the head making it fade quickly. The thick cake of floating foam is very frothy, appearing solid except for a rift of looser bubbles that flows through the center. Lacing is a solid sheet. The color of the beer dwells in the purple, red and plum hues. Its dark but when held to the light I can see that this beer has pretty good clarity.

Quite sweet smelling. Notes of sugar plum fairies dance about. A deeply rooted milk chocolate notion has me very interested. It holds company to fruity tobacco and leather. Lots of overripe fruits of many varieties, figs and plums, bananas, and raisins, all of which are sugar coated.

As I had feared after the sweetness of the aroma, this taste way too sweet. Granted, this is a sweet style of beer, but this sugar coated fruitiness is not kept in check. It bumrushes the palate and holds it in place while alcohol works the midsection. I cant say that this tastes terrible, there aren't any off flavors that I can detect, the sweetness and alcohol are just a bit of a mess. Lots of cherry, fig, plum, and rum.

Fluffy and dry. Lots of warming effects that are felt down in the gullet. The body is fairly full but finishes dry so it is perceived as thinner than I think it really is. A long lasting rum booze sweetness lingers and coats the molars and throat.

I'll say that this is one of the better American made BSDAs. It has the color, body and carbonation down pat. At this juncture, however, the beer is very sweet and brash. Its still gonna look nice along side all of my other -ation bottles.

04-15-2011 22:16:31 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of billshmeinke


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Dark brown body with ruby highlights with a huge four finger off white head.

Banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, toasted bread, and Belgian yeast.

Taste follows smell with banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of brown sugar and caramel, and brown bread. Finishes on a peppery/spicy, slightly alcoholic, and slightly phenolic finish.

Full bodied, well carbonated, prickly on the tongue, and slightly warming going down.

A really solid Belgian strong dark ale.

04-15-2011 05:50:10 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of beerman207


4.58/5  rDev +12%

Last night I experienced damnation so I was feeling a little weak so it was time for salvation. I feel better already.

A: Pours a nice dark brown in the glass. No real head to speak of. Nice skim coat on the glass after the pour. It could be mistaken for a coke if you saw it sitting out.

S: Nose is candied fruit, some plum, fig, a bit of cherry

T: Taste is cherry, belgian yeast, sour, raisin, some hop presence as well. Wow. Complex, delicious

M: Very wet. Not a drying beer by any means

O: Wow. Russian River comes through once again.

04-15-2011 03:59:41 | More by beerman207
Photo of srandycarter


3.88/5  rDev -5.1%

A - Dark cola, tons of head. Lots of cling lace. Pretty.

S - Funky, little barn, good Belgian yeast notes. A bit of the juicy fruit.

T - Solid malt, along with the attributes from smell. Booze noticed as well.

M - Medium to heavy, good carbonation, balances out to the bitter.

D - A bit too much for a session.

04-15-2011 03:13:44 | More by srandycarter
Photo of THECPJ


3.13/5  rDev -23.5%

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown with a reddish hue and a 2 finger off white head

smell: sour, sweet malts,

taste: slight sourness, sweet, dry finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

overall: not one of my favorite Russian River brews but not the worst either.

The cpj

04-14-2011 16:56:57 | More by THECPJ
Photo of DoubleJ


4.47/5  rDev +9.3%

Picked up a bottle from City Beer Store. Another of the -tion sereis to check off. On to the beer:

The cork is a struggle to pull out, but wiggling it around makes it easier. No shortage of head here, very patchy looking and retaining well, hovering over the chocolate brown colored body. Lacing is good. Already, the aroma is making my mouth water. Big, spicy notes set up the loads of semi-sweet chocolate, pear, and plum. Also a little musty.

We've got another winner in the making. The taste is Belgian all the way, and that's the way I'd want it. Initiailly there's a little grape, some dark malt, and clove. Then comes a wave of chocolatey notes. There's a small kick of alcohol making noise and light phenols. All around a great flavor. Having a likeable feel with a base like velvet and gentle bubbles hitting the palate help make the overall package great.

How is Salvation hardly talked about in discussions of Belgian-styled beers brewed in America? Salvation is an excellent version of a Black BSPA*, almost as good as Chimay Blue.

* Black BSPA is obviously a parody in response to Black IPA.

04-13-2011 05:42:26 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.73/5  rDev -8.8%

Pours a murky dirty iced tea color with a 2 inch light tan head that fades to a small cap. Decent rings of lace that drizzle back down into the rest of the beer over time. Smells of dark fruits, spices, Belgian-type yeast, and oddly enough - rubber. The rubber scent I am getting is off-putting and detracts from the overall smell of the beer. Taste is of sweet dark fruits (plums/raisins), spices, and the typical Belgian yeast. Strong carbonation on the beer with a feel of thousands of tiny bubbles washing around in the mouth. A little bit of alcohol warming in the throat. Overall, this is a good beer but nothing too great in my opinion. I am glad I got to try this one as this is the first time I have seen this one in bottles in my area.

04-13-2011 01:40:35 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of ptykozoon


3.88/5  rDev -5.1%

Dark brown, creamy head and the best lacing ever.

Raisin, cinnamon, oak, dark fruits, belgian notes.

Sweet cherry, cocoa, aforementioned scents.

Creamy consistency, yet dry finish. ABV is detectable but not overpowering, still a few years may help it out.

Very much a Belgian Dark Ale, was a great example of the style.

04-13-2011 00:33:36 | More by ptykozoon
Photo of DovaliHops


4.28/5  rDev +4.6%

Pours a dark, reddish-brown color that is a clear ruby red when held up to light. Large white head that diminishes quickly. Scent is pleasant with intense dark fruit aromas and nice spicy scents. A bit of chocolate and booze as well. Taste is DELICIOUS! I was not expecting this beer to taste this good, as I'm normally just a fan of Russian River's sours and hoppy beers. Very lovely dark fruit flavors with a hint of brown sugar and chocolate. I also get some delicious malt and slightly roasted flavors. Great spices reign throughout. Mouthfeel is full bodied and well carbonated for this style. Almost perfect in body. Drinkability is high for such strong ABV, and alcohol is well hidden in the taste. Overall, this is just a fantastic Belgian-style ale from RR. Glad I was able to pick up a few 375ml bottle from the brewery this weekend.

04-12-2011 07:12:54 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of hobojon


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

375ml bottle into a snifter, batch 010.

Aroma: chocolate, brownies, herbal spice, spicy yeast esters, hints of pear, apple, and white wine. floral. some raisin, raw cane sugar, molasses?

Appearance: clear dark brown with tan foam that laces and stays around for awhile. good appearance. yeast in the bottom of the bottle, but doesn't bloom up when the bottle is opened like some Belgian beers.

Taste: dark fruit, chocolate, bready and nutty malt with dry, dark caramel. spicy and herbal hops, with less resin than most of their beer. Belgian yeast comes through clean, fruity and spicy. dates and dark candi syrup. nice dark toasty, roasty malt comes forward as the beer warms, but very smooth.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation that gives an acidic bite (rather aggressive). dry and clean but with hints of a lingering malt sweetness like classic Belgian dark strongs. some warming alcohol as the beer warms, but clean alcohol.

Overall: I had a Rochefort 8 a few nights ago that was not as good as this, but that could have been a bad bottle. This beer is balanced, clean and drinkable for its strength. A very well brewed beer, worth the $4.

04-12-2011 04:30:28 | More by hobojon
Photo of silentjay


4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

pours a slightly translucent amber-tinted brown with a grayish eggnog colored head that rises to a few fingers in height, recedes slowly and leaves some nice lacing.

lots of fruit at first ranging from sweetened dark fruits to tropical fruits to very tart berries. some nuts in behind that and some cereal grains, but a significant sour quality as well. like trail mix that has been soaked in sour milk. odd, but it actually is pretty aromatic.

definitely tart, yet, malty, fruity and a bit spicy with a decent alcohol warmth as well. tart cherries, nutty malts, some belgian yeasty spice, some candied fruit sweetness, a bit of spiced rum, and it finishes dry and tart. some over ripened banana, wheat toast, raisins, and toffee as well.

fine-bubbled carbonation on a medium bodied brew that leaves a slightly tart yet sweet syrup on the palate.

another wonderful beer from Russian River, it feels like trying to find any faults with any of their beers is like splitting hairs. not my favorite by them, but still very tasty.

04-12-2011 02:36:16 | More by silentjay
Photo of SpdKilz


4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

Picked up at my local shop. Batch 010 375ml Bottle.

Appearance - Poured appropriately into my Russian River Tulip. The color is a dark chocolate brown when held up to the fading sun. Loads of slight off head that sticks around for a good 10 minutes, until I lose my patience waiting for it to go away and began to drink the beer. Great lacing left on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Lots of dark fruits, yeast, caramel, lots of spices, nuttiness, and dark roasted malts.

Taste - Similar to the aroma, though more nuttiness and also roasted malts than I was expecting. The dark fruits were not as prevalent as I expected, though I will say that is not a bad thing. I actually enjoyed the flavor more than I was expecting.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, lots of carbonation.

Overall - Pretty impressed with this beer. No alcohol noticeable in the flavor or throat. Can't wait to sit on a few of these for a few years and try them with some age on them.

04-10-2011 00:44:23 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of hooliganlife


3.78/5  rDev -7.6%

batch 10

pours a deep cola brown with a hint of ruby. very clean and clear. massive head that just lingers forever.

tons of yeast, clove, banana, and funk on the nose.

a bit more subtle in the taste. nice and sweet with nice hints of citrus. hints of funk and spice. a bit herbal at the finish.

nice moderate carbonation. moderate to light body.

drinks easy, tastes a bit fresh, funk is far more subtle from the smell.

04-09-2011 01:45:41 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of flannelman808


3.7/5  rDev -9.5%

A: Very opaque and medium brown in color. A good sized off white sea foam head forms and fizzles (as in snaps and pops). Medium plus retention and good lacing.

S: Sweet dark fruit (Raisin, date) meet mild baking spices (cinnamon, allspice?). Something about it reminds me of pecan pie as well.

T: Bruised fruit and baking spice show up on the palate along with some medicinal notes and mild metallic flavors. This is a bit of a disappointment though I may have had high expectations. Still I can't get over the metallic notes in this beer which more or less will have me not buying another. Though I will note that some are more sensitive to this than others.

M: Carbonic fizz

O: Good but not great. Not very boozy for the high abv however I do feel it has flaws and thus I think I will not being having another anytime soon.

04-08-2011 01:41:34 | More by flannelman808
Photo of nuggetsofnectar


3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

App: Murky brown hue with a nice 1" tan cap...slowly settles to have the size....good frothy lacing

Smell: nothing overwhelming..but nice caramelized apples...musty figs...sweet grape skins....peppery hopes in the back...

Taste: first bite is peppery hops with sweet malty figs quickly showing face...candied apples...lots of carbonation with this one...some banana and hints of nutmeg as it warms...

Mouthfeel: a bit too carbonated....sweet and could have a more chewy quality...not bad though

Overalll: A solid rendition...I would revisit

04-07-2011 00:47:40 | More by nuggetsofnectar
Photo of allanplaysguitar


4.85/5  rDev +18.6%

Wow! I loved this beer!

App - Pours a dark almost opaque ruby.
Nose - Deep dark , figs, dark berries and sweet malts.
Taste - Amazing! Sweet and dark fruits and just a little bit of earthy-ness in the best way possible. Complex but not overwhelming, very balanced.
Mouthfeel - Effervescent but it doesn't distract, but rather compliments the malt thickness.

Over all is this an amazing beer. Really one of the best that I have had. Can't wait to head over the Russian River to do a tasting up that way.

03-28-2011 02:40:18 | More by allanplaysguitar
Photo of madvermin


3.83/5  rDev -6.4%

Vintage: Batch 010

This is a magnificent looking beer. Poured into a Chimay goblet, a huge crown of two-finger head is generated, retains extraordinarily well, and leaves ridiculous wallpaper lacing. The body of the beer is dark brownish black with a molasses color and only slight translucence in direct light, while the head is only slightly off-white, making for a cool looking contrast of colors. The head is smooth, frothy, cake-like, and rocky after it finally dissipates a bit. All the while it is admirably fluid while keeping its smooth top. Crazy good looking beer.

Banana/clove combo hits at the start of the nose, and is followed by bubblegum and mint oddly enough. Sweet dates and figs make up the dark fruit flesh of the beer, and raisiny malt lurks in the background. A tiny bit woody too.

Bubblegum is the strongest flavor to start, followed by rich creamy banana and spice. Some citrus is a welcome flavor, but only makes a brief cameo. Dark fruit and a lot of sweetness are present throughout and make for a beer than can be overwhelming at times. A bit of boozy taste, but not feel, is noticeable near the end, and adds some spice to the ever-present clove. Figs and plums are pretty evident, while dates aren't as easily distinguished as in the nose. Yeastiness is also quite prevalent. The sweetness is a bit much for me, and the flavors can get overwhelmingly rich, but I will say that every taste in this beer is of high quality.

Mouthfeel is a point of contention for me, as I'm torn between appreciating how rich and creamy the beer is, but also wish it was a little bit thinner and crisper at times. I guess excess fine carbonation allows for an awesome look, but not always the most balanced feel. Drinkability is tough to judge due to that, along with the flavors being strong but not completely pleasant, but it's definitely above average for the style. This isn't my favorite kind of beer, but I can appreciate a well made one.

03-27-2011 11:52:44 | More by madvermin
Photo of Paulster88


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Batch 10 poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark brown with about a half finger head (nice lacing as well) which are both just about gone halfway thru.

Smell was minimal at first, I did pour it colder then I would have liked. After letting it sit for a bit, sweet belgian yeast is dominant along with a slight boozy smell.

Taste was dark fruit, caramel, and a bit spicy...nice carbonation.

Probably going to lay a bottle or two down and see what happens in a year or so.

03-26-2011 04:45:10 | More by Paulster88
Photo of chcfan


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

100th review

Bottle into 'tion glass. Batch 009, I received it in a trade with the awesome EliottJW.

Dark amber with a tan head.

Smell is a little different than what one usually gets with BSDAs. Raisin is often the predominant fruit, but it's more a banana ester. I still find it interesting, though.

Taste is very good. It's got about 1.5 years on it, but I recall it being very smooth when I drank it fresh.

Salvation is definitely my favorite of the non-wild Belgian style beers that I've had from RR.

03-23-2011 00:57:02 | More by chcfan
Photo of DaveHS


3.68/5  rDev -10%

Batch 10

A-Pours a beautiful burgundy color with 1/3 of tan head that fades quickly, leaving almost no lacing.

S-Clove-heavy Belgian yeast, caramel maltiness, a touch of coppery sharpness.

T/M-Full bodied and moderately sweet, with a big burst of clove/banana yeast that lingers in the finish. Full bodied with vibrant carbonation. The clove flavor is overwhelming after awhile.

O-Definitely not my favorite release from Russian River, but a solid rendition of the style that is very drinkable. If they could pull back a bit on the intensity of the clove flavor, I might like it a little more.

03-21-2011 22:46:14 | More by DaveHS
Photo of Trilogy31


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

Batch 10 poured into a tulip, the color of coca cola with a thin tan head. Beautiful aromas of freshly baked banana bread, vanilla coke, toasted candied coconut. Very in your face and complex on the nose with maybe a touch of sweet tea too. Roasted malts in the mouth with nice carbonation and a hoppy bitterness and a touch of spice - the initial nosing is really the star here. Definitely will be cracking some more of these open in the future, alcohol is well hidden and I tend to consider RR a bit too hyped but this is a very nice beer.

03-21-2011 03:35:03 | More by Trilogy31
Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 968 ratings.