Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,030 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,030
Reviews: 451
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 343
Gots: 222 | FT: 7
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: 1,030 | Reviews: 451 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CruisaC
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 10, courtesy of LesleyH via the nOOb BIF 4---thanks again

pours a dark brown, initially appearing opaque but some cranberry highlights visible when held up to the light. Several inches of head, so much so that I've got to chill a minute to fill my glass up.

smell is a little disappointing, not much there...some roasted malts with a hint of yeast.

Slightly sweet, but that's not the dominating flavor. Some raisins, with some yeast. Finishes with a bit of booze as well

A little thin on the mouth, but finishes nice enough.

This is my second Salvation in about a month or so. Overall a quality beer but I have other belgians I'd go to first, as well as other RR offerings.

Photo of oregone
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown with solid carbonation and persitent thick head. Ringing the glass with continual bubbles.
S: Dark chocolate and anise/licorice dominant with chocolate/coccoa taking the lead as it warms. Some belgian yeast notes involved.
T: Same as aroma. Yeast flavors come out here more pronounced though with some Bubblegum (mild) and fruit (banana) playing very subtly in the mix.
M: Worst point here. With the flavor character I would like to see a slightly lower level of carb. Very spritzy, and while it's a great mouthfeel, I think it slightly detracts from the appreciation of the dominant flavors. Nothing wrong here, and very good though.
O: Excellent. Highly recommended. The sum is certainly greater than the parts and I wish that I had more than one more bottle. Could drink a couple slowly consumed bottles happily over the course of an evening.

Photo of schmoopsbeer
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10
poured into Bruery tulip

Color: A dark brownish raisin color. The pour allows for an of white head to form of about two fingers. A good amount of lacing is left on the glass.

Nose: Lot's of earth tones. Mild woodiness with hints of tobacco and raisins. Bitter hints of molasses and dried fruit are present.

Palate: Feels great on the mouth. the carbonation is maybe a bit much but the beer is very drinkable. The tongue is coated with layers of tobacco and raisins. The malt body becomes evident at this point and it provided a gentle roastiness. A full bodied beer.

Finish: Solid and complex. An array of flavors and texture. Another solid offering from Vinne at Russian River.

Rating: 94 out of 100

Photo of MrKennedy
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle from batch 010, split three ways into a 7oz glass. Huge thanks to nicks6217 for another long time want!

Pouring a deep mahogany colour, with a white to slight beige head of foam that initially foams right up before settling at a normal level.

The smell is perhaps a little understated, with raisins being the dominant aroma along with a little spice.

The taste is of dark plums just a touch, moreso raisins and a touch of dark spice, but in a balanced manner as i've found with all of their ales that i've come across.

Again the alcohol is so well hidden, it is only after finishing that you realise that you've drunk something about twice the strenght of a "standard" brew. Lovely soft mouthfeel and again so well balanced.

Overall another nice ale from Russian River, well balanced, defined and consistent throughout.

Photo of bobhits
2.33/5  rDev -43%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Holy Christ, a reasonable pour and my glass is nothing but head, barely even half an oz of beer at the bottom, and a glass of head. Deep dark amber (nearly black) in color that’s rather opaque…nearly impossible to see through to be honest. Though light shines through to give the deep amber color.

Dark spiced hef? Bananas, cloves, slight candied malt, with some slight molasses or just enough sweetness to avoid any sour or crisp notes often associated with a hef.

The only word I have to describe this beer is INTENSE. Caps are very much needed here. I would go back and age this if I could do it again, 3-4 years might mellow this. This beer brings out the intense flavors of an Eisen bock with the spices of a Belgian beer. Certainly has the bananas and cloves from the nose, but intense hops and a HUGE rum like alcohol flavor at the end.

Too thick, too alcoholic, too carbonated….I can’t think of anything good to say here.

9% abv shouldn’t be this harsh, intense, or any of this. If Russian Rivers wants me to wait a few years to drink this they should put a best after date to let me know not to open it. I think age will help this beer but this beer needs a LOT of help.

Photo of Blanco
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a really dark color, especially for a BSDA. Near black, but with a bluish hue. Very light tan head that pours strong. fresh belgian spices in the smell. hints of fruit and cinnamon in the smell. taste is different than most BSDAs. a little bit of toffee. spicier than most and a little lighter, especially in the mouthfeel. overall, not my favorite BSDA. I've grown accustomed to the similarity in yeast strains of the most popular brands and this differs significantly to the point of being too "different." I get the same feel, but it's not the same.

Photo of megahurts4
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Russian River Salvation

Appearance: light brown, large head, and some good lacing.

Smell: malty grain.

Taste: malty grain and a faint caramel.

Mouthfeel: medium and light.

This is a good brew. It is smooth and flavorful without being very powerful.

Photo of bs870621345
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 10.

Pours a deep brown that seems pretty clear. Has a huge off white/tan head. Nice lacing, but the head is just really crazy.

Smell is fruity like plums, raisons, cherries, roast, alcohol, caramel, and bread.

Taste is fruity all the way through, caramel and bread in the front, alcohol begins to show its face, finishes with a strong fruit, caramel, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thick and nicely carbonated. Too carbonated for my tastes but definitely accecptable.

Overall its a good BSDA. Going to age a few to see what this one can do.

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky brown-burgundy with little light showing through. Nice head retention.

S - Tart fruit rind, yeast, caramel, sweet sugars.

T - Bread soaked with spiced alcohol, tangy fruit acidity, warm alcohol, dark wheat, bitter fruit skin.

M - Crisp and light, this one has bubbling carbonation once in the mouth.

O - Nice Belgian-style, maybe could have used darker flavors and stronger profile.

Photo of jethrodium
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle. Batch 10. Pours a dark brown with a small very light tan head that sticks around for a while and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma is big dark fruit with raisin and plum, spicy Belgian yeast, candi sugar, and a breadiness. The initial taste has a sweetness with some candi sugar then goes into some raisin and plum. The finish has a breadiness with some spicy yeast. Medium body. Low carbonation.

Photo of AgentZero
3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Rich chestnut colored beer with reddish highlights. Huge offwhite head that had gret retention and faded to a substantial cap. Sides of the glass left clean.

S - Sugar and candy smells with a lot of banana and a bit of clove. Some molasses and dark fruit.

T - Taste is pretty boring, slightly sterile with some candy sugar that manages not to get too sweet, a little yeast, molasses, and caramel. Tastes somewhat empty and doesn't finish all that well.

M - Active carbonation, medium bodied, bit of a dry finish.

O - Beer is better than average, but I'm not a huge fan. At 9% it's decently drinkable, but this is probably one of my least favorite Russian River offerings.

Photo of deapokid
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Visually, this is a dark, brown liquid with reddish hues when tilted into the light. Carbonation is uber bubbly with lacing that fades fast and a pencil thin layer of foam. This is a rather faithful recreation of a Belgian brown.

Aroma is sweet, heightened by dark fruit (some cherry and plum), cinnamon and a Brandy-esque alcoholic burn. It's a bit dry and the sugary scents are quite subtle.

Flavor is slightly bitter with a roasted nut and basement musk pairing in the conclusion. Characteristics include an apple's tartness, nutmeg, a little licorice and some dark chocolate. Luckily, the sugary notes are light, making it drinkable and not a cavity waiting to happen.

The mouth is smooth upfront, followed by a sizzle of carbonation and a resonating dryness. It's restrained for the style and I feel like it's tasty and original enough to go head to head with any of Belgian's top ales.

Photo of chugalug06
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Extremly aggressive tan head pours very soapy and builds quickly. Several pours to get this one in a NB Globe. Brew is deep blood red, with brown and purple hues. Very little foam stick to the side of glass.

S - Scents of cinnamon, honey, raisin, slight pine, and slight lemon. Scent is quite pleasant.

T - Tasty! Lots of complex flavors. Figs? or raisins for sure! Slight oak taste which brings out some vanilla. Very slight brun from the ABV heat. For the most part is hidden very well.

M - Very smooth and delicious. Medium bodied and slightly under carbonated. Very Wet feeling. No bitterness or dryness.

O - Quite a good brew! I'll be snagging some more of these.... I believe age will do this brew very well; only time will tell.


Photo of grittybrews
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of LiquidBread219
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of beerpirates
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of KeefD
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of waltersrj
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of dvb
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,030 ratings.