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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

962 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 962
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 330
Gots: 208 | 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: 962 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Actually thought this beer was better when it was poured cold and right out of the fridge.

Damn this is a pretty beer. Pours a perfectly clear, but translucent, brown that is slight tinged red. Slight head that dossolves to a scattered, swirled film. Nose is essentially absent with just a sloght whaft f spices rises from the glass.

Flavor is not in comparison with the aroma. Heavy malt base followed up by a Belgian sugar sweetness. Then a coating spiciness matched with a slight buring from the alcohol heat. Little bits of fruits too such as cheerry, prunes and pineapple. Medium body that fills out a bit as it warms. But I like this beer a bit colder and lighter. Excellent drinking for an afternoon where you are looking for something more than a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2007 22:56:13 | More by MuddyFeet
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2007 18:09:12 | More by stereosforgeeks
Photo of neonbrown82


4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003

This beer is being reviewed in conjunction with the Avery Salvation, and after I am finished reviewing I will continue to mix the two and review that in conjunction with the Collaboration Not Litigation. After much debate, I think I can easily say that this is the better of the two, though I have loved both so far.

The beer pours to a nice dark burnt caramel color. Brownish with a copper hue. Thick creamy off-white head with great retention that lasts through the whole duration of the drink. Leaves an excellent sheet of lacing that covers every inch of the glass.

The smell is great. Lots of bubblegummy esters and cream. Doesn't smell candied at all. Not as spicy as the Avery, and with a gentle roast. The flavor is even more exceptional. Gentle sweetness up front with a great ester profile. Bubblegum and banana. Not so much of the clove. Tastes like it has some variety of wheat malt and little to no caramel. Tastes a bit creamy as well, with a gentle roasted barley character as well. Very complex, and not candied... just letting the yeast produce all of those wonderful candy flavors.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Very smooth. The alcohol is nowhere to be found, as opposed to the Avery, which was damn near brutal with the burn at the same 9% ABV. Very drinkable for such a strong beer. Definitely the stronger of the two, but again, I love them both.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2007 02:10:26 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of Georgiabeer


4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml, batch 001. This batch is even more delicious after some aging. Pours a murky copper brown with a moderately large fine grained head that retains very well and leaves some sloppy lacing. Beautiful aromas coming out of the chalice, including plums, sweet and sour fruit, some cinnamony esters, and a pronounced sourness reminiscent of a flanders red- this scent does not come through in the flavor. The flavor itself is wonderful, however. Very creamy, with a taste as of plum and cherries marinated in balsamic vinegar, water, and honey. Rich darker fruit follows with some immediate bitterness and then a long creamy sweet finish that is divine. Really a work of art and a little more fully integrated and creamy after some extra time in the bottle. The sourness seems a little more interesting as well. The mouthfeelis phenomenal- light and airy, it seems to float on the palate, and with a wonderful creaminess. Tremendously drinkable, the abv seems to just not be a factor.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2007 00:49:41 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of crwills

Ontario (Canada)

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

Part of a tasting with northyorksammy, biegaman, grub, and derek. Thanks guys!

Pours a deep, dirty orange colour into a sample glass. Little bit of head, and some lacing. Sour apple or pear aroma. Muted but very interesting flavour: sour cherry and pomegranate, maybe? Smooth mouthfeel and pleasant, lingering sour cherry aftertaste make this very drinkable. Nice!

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2007 02:34:46 | More by crwills
Photo of weeare138


4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mac300 for bringing this to our Salvations & Collaboration side by side tasting...
Batch # 003
Appears a deep mahogany with a bubbly, 2 finger, off-white head that slowly fades away. Sticky streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, maple, roasted chestnuts, vanilla cream, raisins, and very mild shake of cocoa.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a true Belgian yeast blast that is remeniscent of Westmalle with the vanilla esters...could be from the oak as well but I'd think the former was the culprit.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sugary, creamy, and smooth.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2007 20:21:40 | More by weeare138
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was from batch #2, which supposedly used the White Labs 530 abbey yeast (Westmalle origin, which is also used by Achel & Westvleteren). It must have picked up a little funk/complexity from elsewhere (Brett?).

A: Amber-brown, off-white/light-tan head; good retention & lace.

S: Slightly wild/funky, caramel apple & spice.

T: Well-rounded funk (immediately noticably, but not too assertive), slight spice, dark fruit, vanilla, toffee, slight caramel, warming alcohol, perfect bittersweet balance. Really incredible.

M: Moderate body is silky smooth & well attenuated. Fabulous fermentation.

D: Very drinkable.

Thanks for the sample Sammy!

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 04:29:24 | More by Derek
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

quarterly tasting party feb 21/07 with northyorksammy, Derek, crwills, biegaman and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer. northyorksammy contributed this one, so thanks to sammy!

corked and caged 750ml bottle, batch 002.

pours very dark amber with a hint of red. big dense tan head that drops slowly and leaves tons of lace.

aroma is great. deep and roasty. bit of malt vinegar. very light funk. alcohol. bit of lemon sourness. very wine-like.

taste is awesome, and i liked it more with every taste. much more funk in the taste than in the aroma. barnyard horse blanket. really feels funky in the mouthfeel as much as the taste. lots of lemon. malt vinegar. bread and biscuit malt. some alcohol. moderate bitterness. bit of sweetness. caramel. bit of vanilla.

mouthfeel is good. above average carboation works well. fairly light bodied.

drinkability is great. very deep and interesting beer. my favourite of the night. really good and a beer i look forward to trying again.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2007 03:48:15 | More by grub
Photo of dfried


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark oranish peach in color, off white, cream colored cap for a head. Dark fruits like plums, cherries, and raisins in the aroma, some banana too, with some Belgian yeast and some spicy notes. The taste was pretty complex, a lot of layers with different fruits, brambles, strawberries, melons, pears, plums, and raisins. Some other good flavors from the malt too, black licorice, hints of molasses, some bready flavors from the yeast. Some spices added some tangy-ness, but they were pretty smoothed. So many great flavors with very gentil alcohol made it very drinkable.

Verdict: a damn good strong dark. A lot of layers, and a wide variety of fruity flavors. One of the better offerings of the style, especially for being brewed in the U.S., but not quite the tip of the iceberg.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2007 03:47:45 | More by dfried
Photo of rarevos

New York

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

Batch 003. Poured into goblet.

A: Pours a chestnut brown with a temporary blanket of foam. High abv, so nothing out of the ordinary here. Looks like very dark iced tea, with ruby highlights at the sides.

S: Slight vinous aroma. Sour cherries. Sweet, rich malt--brown sugar.

T/M: Dark fruit (date, fig, plum, cherry, raisins). Bit of chocolate (dark, bitter, rich, expensive chocolate), and some licorice. Finish is warming and perfumy, with an oaky edge. Mouthfeel is rather creamy. A bit harsh going down (like ginger?); should have put a few months on this one, methinks. Oh well. The other bottle will be better, not that this one isn't pretty damn good.

D: This was good. Is rather difficult for me to get, but it was worth tracking it down to try. Unibroue's Terrible remains my favorite of this style (and, perhaps not coincidentally, remains easier for me to obtain).

Definitely a sipping beer, and definitely a pleasant pairing with a book on a cold, windy night. Much, much better as it warms, so mind the suggested serving temperatures.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2007 04:52:22 | More by rarevos
Photo of CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch 002. Faint wisp of salty malt aroma. Nice clean amber pour, shrouded with off-white rim. Flavor is a quite sour malty flavor, with some cherry. thai lemongrass and galangal, but it’s not particularly nuanced or distinctive. Composed with some long caramels and a bit of sour oat saltiness. Ebbs lemon tangy on the backend and this joins some bland grape skins. Bite of almond. Not cloying. Yeast begins to dominate. Crisp lemon leaf hop finish. I was looking for more. Thanks Andy!

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2007 17:22:26 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of jaluria


4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appeared a medium-dark brown with a frothy tan colored head. Plenty of bubbles glued to the surface. Some lacing was apparent in my cup. Aromas of plums, raisins, and toast. The taste followed suit with sweet fruity flavors dominating. A hint of smoke and cream also came out. Quite flavorful and enjoyable. The alcohol is detectable but it blends right in. I would very much like to have this one again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2007 15:03:13 | More by jaluria
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bought this via the RR website. They actually ship to my state!! I'm glad I did. This is a very nice example of what a belgian strong dark ale can be.

A - Rich reddish brown color. A slow pour yields a wonderful clear glowing brew with a nice cascade of bubbles flowing up to a billowy light tan head.

S - Rich dark ripe fruit, buttery caramel malts with a light nice tasty influence of belgian candi sugar and a wonderful belgian yeast aroma.

T - Similar to the smell but melding so nicely. Each taste is an exquisite blend of flavors. No let down as you work through the bottle.

M - Medium bodied, medium carbonation level. smooth and crips across the tongue.

D - Wow, this was an amazing drinking brew. Quite refreshing and one of the best of the style I've had.

There are more from batch 002 in the cellar and man am I glad I took the leap into this brewery on "faith". Buy it if you can get it. It's worth the money.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2007 14:43:26 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of ReebShorts


3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caged/Corked 750 ml bottle, brought up from cali by my bro. Interesting story on the back about a local restaraunt, and the various RR names. Las time I was in cali I had both of the Pliny's and they were outstanding, so when my bro asked what to bring when he came up for Christmas, I just said bring me something from Russian River.

Nice pop, and whisp of smoke. Poured into a Westmalle Chalice. Medium Brown color, with a hint of Orange, nice looking thin off-white head, tight bubbles, slowly fading into some islands.

Aroma of roasted malts, brown sugar, caramel, banana bread, and raspberry.

Somehow, the flavor contradicts what I was expecting from the aroma. This beer is tart leaning to sour, but not cloying or offensive. I've definately tasted better in this style (Begium brewed mostly), but for an American brewer I think they are getting closer to getting the style right. Now if I could get my hands on some Pliny....

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2007 10:27:04 | More by ReebShorts
Photo of blackie


4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Pours a tan coloured head with great retention. A few bottom-fed islands and a healty ring persist for quite awhile. The beer is a rich mahogany brown in colour.

smell: Toasted, buttery caramel malts with a light touch of roast with light, sugary fruits (banana, green apple, strawberry). Moderately sweet with notes of dark, dried tree fruits. Belgian yeast aromas.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, smooth, and creamy; and the body a lighter medium. Very near a 5.

taste: Absolutely delicious mix of toasted caramel, dates, raw sugars, and aged Belgian hops. Light dusting of cocoa after the swallow. Toasted, grainy notes. Dry finish with a moderate bitterness. Subtle and complex. A little roast in the finish.

drinkability: a great sipper

split courtesy of dirtylou while in Madison...batch 001

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2006 07:00:55 | More by blackie
Photo of dirtylou


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle split with the prince of darkness himself, blackie. obtaied in a trade from lou91 i think. batch 001

appearance: poured into a la chouffe tulipe-esque glass...dark garnet body, creamy beige head with great retention

smell: very aromatic...plum and other dark fruit, raisin, fig...lots of malt complexity, brown sugar, booze

taste: nice and sugary throughout...booze covered plum and soaked fig/raisin...thick malt with lots of complexity..high yeast level. big beer but quite enjoyable

mouthfeel: really coating, a bit boozy

drinkability: good

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2006 06:16:53 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Phatz


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: An attractive and simple corked and caged bottle marked Batch 002.

Appearance: Pours a creamy opaque brown with a khaki tan head noteworthy lacing.

Smell: mmm. Fruity malty and yeast and raisins and sugar. Raw sugar, and it think It is a familiar Brett yeast.

Taste: Yes, I get some Brettanomyces with malty sweet dark fruits with prunes & cocoa and yet suggestions of banana & vanilla and sweet bread, with a touch of alcohol showing through and drying things up at the end.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: It has a big medium body feel that is spectacular. Thick and malty but spiced plenty and dry and yeasty tart enough in the finish to keep everything from cloying making a very pleasant brew to drink.

Hope this is helpful.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2006 22:19:11 | More by Phatz
Photo of Risser09


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage • 750ml Corked bottle poured into a tasting glass

Appearance: Pours dark and opaque brown. Slight head yields to moderate lace atop the beer surface. Less than average carbonation. Yeast globules sink to the bottom of the glass, I hope they're tasty.

Smell: Malty and plenty of active yeast. Smells alive with vigor. There is some fruity aromas like strawberries and green raisins.

Taste: Complex and interesting. Drinking this beer is like wandering around in the dark–you don't know where you are going. It's very alive tasting. Earthy flavor and ripe fruit as well. Big malty backbone and toasted almond finish. Alcohol burn is present and satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Carbonated, alive, and satisfying to drink. Goes down easy despite the abv. This beer shows how complex this style can be. The spectrum of flavors is very wide and enjoyable.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I could drink a 750ml bottle without any trouble. It would be great with a nice dinner. Would definately purchase this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2006 14:26:14 | More by Risser09
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Peachy orange with some white head.Fruity yeasty aroma. Medium bodied, with good significant carbonation, and sour finish. After several samples, the sourness is comfortably contained in malt. Thanks to Nochum for bringing in.
Another bottle a year later and more mellow. with a big soapy white head and lots of lace.Winey.
A year later bottle just as good, more yeast in aroma and taste. Thanks Crushinat0r for that one.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2006 03:10:56 | More by Sammy
Photo of brewcrew76


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002

A - Pours a murky dirty brown with a thin tan head that disappears to a little layer of skim floating on top.

S - Sweet malt, pepper, yeasty, raisins and strawberries.

T - Dark fruits and raisins, yeasty character with a little pepper zip. A hint of alcohol is present. Nice and complex.

M - Crisp and very well carbonated.

D - A very drinkable and tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 02:13:49 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of Jredner


3.13/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The thing I like about RR’s belgian Beers is that they act Belgian. The aroma here is spicy with mild alcohol notes, mashed dark fruits, such as cherry and plum, nose tingling peppery notes and a sofy yeaty quality that underlies the whole affair. The body is a rich dark brown with hints of red...very masculine tone I wish i could find a lot of wood that color to build something out of....ugh!

The head is, like I said Belgian behaving in that it fluffs up easy and statys around a bit....though it’s not 100% Belgian...it has some reservations about totally flowing out of the glass.

Flavor...wow not so nice as Borat might say if he’d had this. It’s got a lot of tart and spicy notes with some hot alcohol and a lot of peppery zing, but the fruity notes from the aroma are gone daddy gone. Aggresive yeast? I don’t care. I paid money for this and unlike most RR beers this is very blaaah. Little flavor concnetration and little range.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2006 21:17:12 | More by Jredner
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2006 20:43:15 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of clickpush


4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: 750ml bottle to tulip glass. Tumbles out of the bottle to form a big tan head over a caramel colored body. The beer's extremely active and bubbles stream throughout. The head melts at a snail's pace, sticking to the sides of the glass and leaving pock marked foam lacings in its aftermath.

Nose: Very strong aroma bursts from the bottle immediately upon yanking the cork. Smells wild, mild hops, candy tartness, fruity malts, and chili pepper yeast. Crops of raspberries and sour cherries.

Mouth: Chocolate immediately upon entering the mouth - dry cocoa powder. Then malty flavors of maple syrup. An amazing mouthfeel that carries the flavors from front to back on a wave of bustling carbonation. Hops are light but noticeable and enjoyable as a dull green bitterness that shows its face directly preceding the swallow. Roasted malts break through in the finish and last with a dark sour cherry flavor and burnt toast. Alcohol flavor present and warming, not unpleasant, even as the brew warms.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2006 21:48:00 | More by clickpush
Photo of hopsaplenty


4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, batch 002.

Clear cordovan with fiery ruby highlights. Tall small and medium bubbled khaki head topped with crema fine bubbles. Possess a core of steady, but paced, small bubbled carbonation streams. The head slowly settles to a short collar and a thin skim, leaving draped veils of lace. Aromas of cloves, bananas, spiced prunes and only the faintest whiff of yeast. The aroma is much brighter and cleaner than batch 001. Strong clove flavors are complimented by a lush, slick sweet yeastiness. Some banana tones are present, and the finish is much warmer and ‘wet’ than batch 001, and is also a touch sticky. Longish finish punctuated by clove oil, pepper, and dark fruits. Medium-full body and fine carbonation, this felt bigger than 001. Superbly drinkable now, but will evolve and dry out with some time.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2006 12:09:21 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of Westsidethreat


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002

A: Pours a dark, rootbeer color but with more body. Oatmeal colored head is smooth and creamy..low lying about 1/2 inch thick.

S: Spicy raisins, light caramel, some roasted grains, brown sugar and touch of banana.

T: Ooooh doggy thats sweet. Sort of a raisin, prune, grape juice concoction with an arse load of dark sugar added. Get some red apple down the center of the tongue with apricot around the sides. Raw dough with chocolaty tones and a yeasty overbite add to the character of this brew. Surprising hop bitterness pops its head in, but you need to look for it. Finishes with loads of white peach and simple syrup.

M: Medium to full....creamy but a bit prickly.

D: This beer was much too young. 18 months would do this one some good. The sugars would chill forming a quality caramely flavor.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 03:58:06 | More by Westsidethreat
Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 962 ratings.