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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,068 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,068
Reviews: 457
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 349
Gots: 244 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,068 | Reviews: 457 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MasterSki
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave (d0b) for sharing this one on New Beer "Saturday". Served in an Upland pint glass - Batch 008 from October 2008.

A - Pours with a decent two fingers of light tan that dissipates to a thin cap. A nice woody semi-transparent orange-brown color. A little bit of spotty lacing. Pretty good looking for a 9% Belgian style.

S - The smell is full of fruits (berries, grapes, plums), raisins, rumcake, burnt sugar, and Belgian yeast. It's a pretty typical quad collection of flavors that is still pretty nice and convincing. No obvious alcohol here.

T - There's some nice fresh cake and bread flavors along with the dark fruit and berry notes, but there's also a weird twangy metallic yeast flavor that I'm not digging so much. I like the smell much better on this one.

M - Medium body, lively carbonation, some residual sugary stickiness. Pretty typical quad mouthfeel.

D - The weird yeasty metallic twang is off-putting enough that I really didn't want so much of this one. Probably my least favorite RR brew, although still not bad in the grand scheme of things.

Photo of dukedevil0
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to d0b for bringing this 750mL bottle over to new beer Saturday at my place. Served this in a pint glass so I hope it doesn't matter too much.

A: Pours dark brown with just off-white colored head and lots of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells like raisins, molasses, brown sugar, figs, caramel

T: Similar to the smell, but less intense and less complex...still some raisin flavor, with molasses, caramel

M: Nice carbonation while still being smooth and palate coating

D: Pretty highly drinkable, you can't tell it's 9%, the flavor is a little lacking, while still being tasty...I just wish it tasted more intense and complex.

Photo of hiikeeba
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours op an opaque brown with a small tan head that disspates rapidly

S - Some hints of banana and plums, and some chocolate notes. Complex and appetizing

T - Dark fruits and banana, slight chocolate notes. Warming alcohol in the finish

M - Thick silky mouthfeel

D - Alcohol flavor well balanced making this a very drinkable beer.

Photo of Chefgabe77
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I drink this beer 3-4 times a week. I have the pleasure of living in Santa Rosa and thank god every time I put my lips on a Russian River Beer. Dark amber, last batch a little cloudy, with caramel and molasses finish. I usually start and finish my sesh with this beer. I cook for a living and would pair salvation with Duck, Pork, Foie Gras, and any poultry.

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

Thanks to juicestam for his round the world odyssey that led to this review.

Appearance: Reddish body. Thick white head. Nice lacing.

Nose: Sweet light malt, spice, sugar.

Taste: Sweet, dark fruit, slightly sour. A little smokiness, Aged in oak?

Mouthfeel: Slick, slightly astringent.

Drinkability: Pretty good. I would have another, if there were another to have.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Had this during Philly Beer Week at the Local 44.

A - poured dark garnet brown with a short lived tan head. Very little lace.

S - earthy, fruity and immensely sweet. I pick up some raisins and dates as well. Quite intriguing

T - Extremely sweet. Dark fruits and candi sugar mixed with spiced rum. Slightly boozy, the alcohol is quite apparent.

M - full bodied and very smooth

D - quite good for having the alcohol content. It's pretty sweet but not cloying, it's on the borderline here. But I'd still drink this all day :)

Photo of PEBKAC
3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Spread vintage sampling, courtesy of some very generous & beautiful members of the community. :)

Served in a snifter over good conversation.

Batch 002:

Muddy, oiled brown hide. Trailing stroke of sandy-colored head.

Smell is slightly vinegar-y & buttered. A little apple, a little candied fruit & some rolled oats to dry it up. Maybe even a bit stinky. Best smelling batch of the three.

Carbonation is about average. Body is watered down thin. Taste of boozy raisins & sharply fruity(but stuffy), red wine. A little papery, but less oxidation then batch 3. A cautious amount of soothing vanilla. Cider vinegar takes over right before the finish.

Batch 003:

Undisturbed pour, watered down wine consistency & color. A small, faint, wisp of head develops as the glass settles.

Ash & sticky/pruney, dried up grape juice dominate the smell.

A very thin mouthfeel. Slight to moderate burnt plastic & newspaper-like oxidation. Corky, tired wine & chalky yeast.

Batch 008:

Served immediately following batch 3.

Lively pour. A little denser, but still with a red wine hue.

Smell is still grape-y for me, but there is a solid amount of macerated grain & oak, along with a good bit of yeast. Alcohol is much more prevalent in this bottle.

Taste is more grape skins then boozy wine. Dusty bread crust, & a noticeable amount of caramelization & macerated bananas. Nougat-like sweetness. Lots of drying wood notes, some bitter clove, & just barely tart. Again though, just really thin.

Score is from the most recent batch. Aging & conditions keep the beer ranging from interesting to forgettable. A wonderful opportunity nonetheless. :)

02: 3.2
03: 2.0

Photo of MiScusi
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 006

A- dark brown, a clear liquid but very dark, can't see through int he glass. Huge light tan pillowy head forms on the pour.

S/T- powder chocolate and caramel in the aroma. The same goes for the taste. I don't get much fruit or Belgian yeast phenols at all really, it seems pretty clean (cleaner than maybe it should be?). The flavor is rich and definitely chocolate dominant.

M- Pretty light. Maybe just short of medium.

D- Good beer, no off flavors that I could tell, but might start to lose interest in this towards the end of the glass.

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

Crystal clear and dark, sort of a deep ruby red with slight amber hue. It was topped by a fine cream coloured foam that coated the glass and surface of the beer. Great head retention. Malty aroma, sweet and sugary with notes of dried fruit, sugar coated raisins, faint spice. Quite fruity too, with tart apple and pear appearing as it warmed. Mild bitterness with plenty of sweet molasses and sugary malt flavour. Cherries, caramel, a bit of toffee and chocolate, brown sugar, and a spicy finish. Creamy carbonation, medium to full bodied, mild warmth and a hint of stickiness. Very good with a refined texture and flavour.

Photo of macktbone
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first Russian River beer that has not blown my mind.

Pours with a nice small bubble head and a walnut brown color.

Smells like a belgian, with nice raison like aroma as well as other dark fruits.

Taste is standard. I was hoping for something really special rather than another belgian. The big difference is the length of time this stays on your pallate. The band of tongue that this beer covers is pretty amazing. It is fairly "wet" and stays with you forever.

Mouthfeel is nothing special but is nice none the less.

I could have another at the brewery but It wouldn't be my primary choice. I don't plan on purchasing another bottle.

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

Batch 007, courtesy of Bankhead. Thanks Henry!

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a nice dark brown, opaque, with a beautiful fluffy khaki head, and bubbles crawling up the side of the glass. As the center of the head recedes into a thin layer, the outside seems to grow. Really nice lacing too.

Nose has light notes of banana and clove, yeasty, brown sugar, some cocoa, dark fruit, and bready dark malt pokes through as well.

Taste is rather fascinating, not at all what I expected and yet delicious. Notes of banana and clove at first, cocoa and cola, nutty, anise seed and pumpernickel, dark fruits, a bit oaky even though I know this wasn't oak aged, vanilla, and some earthy but citric hop bitterness at the end keeping the whole thing grounded. So much going on in this one - every sip is different than the last. It's like every third sip is a different beer. Finish is lightly bitter, lingering, earthy, a bit citric. Warmer, the finish is dry, clean and snappy. Nary a hint of alcohol in the taste or feel. As the beer warms from around 50 degrees to room temp, the earthy, citric bitterness pulls further into the background and the yeast, dark fruit, brown sugar and cola notes come out even more. Warmer still and i'm getting some caramel covered apples in the mix - what a shape changer this one is.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a fluffy lightness from the carbonation. Drinkability is certainly not something to laugh at in a beer this size, but it's not quite world class either.

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

13oz pour into a tulip at Tria, 4/2/09.
Stately composition sitting in front of me, ready for a conversation. A dollop of soft ecru head laminates an opaquish mahogany body with highlights of translucent ruby at the edges. Intricate lacing that tenaciously hangs to the glass for dear life.

Difficult to pick up much in the nose at first, mostly one note sweet licorice. As it warms I pick up much more (although still subtle): honey, caramel, earthy hop, cherries and plenty of tobacco.

clean on the lips. Very ashen and dry in the front, this lends a nice complex mouthfeel to the beer. Opens up with orange zest, yeasty clove, caramel notes, plenty of berry fruits. Full finish dominated by sweet tobacco. Nicely complex.

clean body, heavily carbonated, which creates a crisp finish that is an asset. The drinkability of this beer strikes me as just about perfect for the style. This beer keeps you interested, 'understated' comes to mind...

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

Batch 005. Large corked bottle, poured into a tulip as suggested in the bottle.

Dark brown, with a faint red highlight, and a voluminous tan head that slowly drops to a long lasting collar, coating the sides of the glass with sheets of lace.
The aroma is quite interesting, if a bit off for the style. Sour notes, oaky (?no mention to barrel aging on the bottle), fruity and hints of chocolate.
Medium bodied, taste has layers of fruits, mostly prunes and figs, possibly raisins; chocolate is here again, and some sourness that accentuates as the beer warms; sweet maltiness also becomes more noticeable.
It is well off the style, but still a very nice, tasty brew. Worthwhile, and better a bit warmer.

Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Salvation. This beer almost caused my first public display of ecstasy (& man, that could have been ugly) in Seattle when I had it on tap at Brouwer's Cafe. I might have been spied licking the inside of the glass with my KISS tongue. Both the wife & I snagged a bottle in the great Northwest to bring home to the cold plains. My hope is that it is 75% as good out of the bottle as my memories.

Bottle opens with a satisfying *pop* & the cork isn't tough to remove, which is nice. Brownish with amber around the edges. As it warms up, there's a lot of reddish fruit smell wafting from the glass, with an undertow of cough medicine, & I mean that in a good way & no, I don't need an Intervention, thank you very much.

The taste doesn't have me reaching for the towel, but it's damn, damn fine. The alcohol is running on the treadmill, but it's only that faint background whine. Otherwise there are the aforementioned fruits, along with that fantastic & faint medicinal quality that shouldn't taste so yummy. Very dry, very light, like a good white wine. It's making my head hum happily. I can't quite identify the tune.

Not quite as lupastic as the on-tap version, but I could drink a few of these. Very, very good beer, & another winner from Russian River.

Photo of natasharai
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured with 1cm off white head that dissipated over about 5 minutes leaving some lacing. The beer is reddish brown.

Smell: Fruity, plum, rasins, malty, and some alcohol.

Taste: Spicy, fruity, some alcohol but it is enjoyable, with a strong sweet malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: Some tingle on the tongue, medium amount of carbonation, sweet syrupy feel

Overall: Pretty easy to drink, some alcohol present, and it is pretty sweet. Overall a great example of the style.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Trevor (lynx1245) brought this over to share. Poured into a couple of snifters.

Appearance: Dark brown body with shades of red when held to light. One-finger, light tan, foamy head retains extremely well thanks to huge carbonation which can be seen along the walls of the glass. Very nice, web-like lacing to boot.

Smell: Belgian yeast strain produces banana and clove smells right away. I actually smell some latex. Call me weird - I don't care. Alcohol touch in finish. Maybe some spice as well.

Taste: Sour yeast once again creates clove and mild banana flavors. I'm detecting some citric American hops (cascade?). Spicy and peppery with some dry dark chocolate notes. Possibly figs and other dark fruits too.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body. High carbonation doesn't sting at all - velvety smooth. Dry and clean, similar to a dubbel (one of my favorite styles). Coats mouth great. Even feels a bit foamy inside.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable. Flavorful, dry, and alcoholic. I could sip on this for a while. I'm not too good at rating Belgians, but I like this one quite a bit.

Photo of william5586
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Local 44 in Philly

Pours a light brown with reddish hints. Very minimal head that left slight lacing. The smell was on the sweet side. It consisted of yeast and dark fruity smells. The taste mirrored the smell. There was a nice sweetness. Dark fruits. Raisins. Hint of some malt. The mouth feel was great. It was very smooth and almost syrup like but not in a bad way. The drinkability was good, and I would have loved to have a second glass. Ill be on the look out for an opportunity to try this again.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 001.

Pours into my glass a dark cola brown with ruby accents. An inch of khaki foam on top with great retention. Lots of active carbonation as well. Aromas of chocolate malt upfront with a good blast of spice. Hints of banana and earthy Belgian yeast tones.

First sip brings more crisp chocolate malt upfront moving into a blend of spice and fruit flavors. Earthy yeast kicks in on the way down. Nice sweetness that is not overpowering and great balance overall. Raisin and toffee afterthoughts as it finishes a bit dry. Good, chocolaty stuff.

Smooth body with creaminess and perfect carbonation. A tasty treat that has aged quite beautifully in my opinion. I will have to seek this one out again and would love to try it on tap someday.

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

Bottle courtesy of iowaherkeye. Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma of spices (clove and something else I can't quite figure out...). Flavor is spicy initially and then some roasted nuts and smokey notes make their presence as the beer warms. Tastier and tastier as I keep drinking. RR certainly makes some top-notch beers. Excellent beer, hardly even tastes like a typical BSA.
8/4/8/4/16 (4.0/5)

Photo of callmemickey
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Burgundy-brown body, off-white head, moderate retention and lacing left behind.

S: Yeasty, tart cherries, raisins, caramel malt.

T: More of the same. Some tart cherries in the middle which was nice, but the beer finishes in a slightly off barnyard flavor. Yeast is ever-present.

M: Smooth. Medium body. Suffers a bit from a lingering after taste.

D: Decent. Hurt a bit by the finish. Would certainly have again, but not in the same sitting.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown coppery color, almost like a traditional doppelbock. Around the edges of the glass shines a light muddy tone. Pours a half inch of head into my tulip glass. It slowly dissipates into a thin film of bubbles with a thicker ring around the glass. Lacing is slight, but looks attractive.

The is not a whole lot going on in the nose, though. Scent is fairly non complex, except for the coffee notes on top of a chocolatey malt base.

Spices are clearly evident in the flavor...some cloves and cardamom both come through with a lot of caramel malts, and an unfamiliar flavor, that I am, in my mind, linking with the yeast used. I am not sure if I'm a fan of it or not. Some alcohol also comes through later in the taste.

The beer is pretty light for such a dark color. I expected more carbonation, and I was a little bit disappointed at the smoothness. I like my Belgian Strong Ales with a bit more twang...the beer seemed to lack some character, and as a result, I wouldn't come running back to it, through it was good nonetheless

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at Russian River

A: A dark semi-transparent brown.

S: Dark fruit. Figs/Raisins and you could detect the alcohol in the there for awhile.

T: Tasted like a dark belgian. Dark fruit, malty and tasty. Very nice beer!

M: Kinda thick like it should be, with some alcohol burn at the end!

D: I liked this but at 9% it's kinda high to enjoy several of them. Very good though

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

Thanks to jac5084 for bringing this to last night's tasting. Split it with him, nittanybeerfan, and my girl. Poured it into my unbranded tulip.

A: Pours a surprisingly murky, hazy muddy brown with some burgundy hues in there. Head is a nice eggshell white but is small and leaves next to nil lacing. Not the greatest looking brew, but I can get over that.

S: Smell is wow, as in this is very interesting. Smell is incredibly spicy...almost smells like a blend of Belgian Dark Ale and Doppelbock. Clove, clove, everywhere! Also some nice sweet caramel in the smell coupled with some coffee and dark candi sugar.

T: Taste is on the lighter side with similar tastes that were represented in the smell. Tons of spice. And one particular spice that I cannot recognize nor can I say I enjoyed. The caramel however is nice and sweet and plays well with the candi sugar and balances the spices the best it can.

Overall, this was a great beer to start the night off with. I would like to get another and lay it in the cellar for a few years to see how it matures.

Photo of MMAJYK
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A. Deep nutty brown. Nice head that holds decent retention.

S. Very complex--cherries, dates, figs, Belgian yeast phenols, chocolate, and lemons.

T. Pleasantly malty with figs and chocolate. Still a tad tart with the cherries and lemons. Very unique and very good.

M. Middle thickness and high carbonation.

D. Very drinkable. The complexity is amazing. So much going on, so little beer. I wish I had more of these.

Photo of PDXHops
3.17/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

8 oz tap serving in a small snifter.

Brown body with a hint of red. Very minimal head (more like some bubbles gathering around the edge) is almost white. A scant bit of lacing. Disappointing visually.

Served too cold, so the aromas are hard to pick up on. With a bit of patience and time for warming up, I get mainly yeast, some dark malt and dark fruit. Funk looms in the background. Not nearly as potent as I'd figured on.

Things get more interesting pretty quickly, though. A big smack of almost overpowering wet hay funk up front. Once you get past that, there's a lot going here. A touch of very overripe fruit, very yeasty, some dark roasted malt, some buterry diacetyl flavor, just a bit of cherry tang as you swallow. The finish is more bitter than I expected, but very clean and crisp considering the heavy flavors.

Carbonation is more zippy than I expected given the poor head. Medium mouthfeel, goes down smooth. Funkiness keeps the drinkability down. I'd had enough after 2/3 of my glass.

Overall impression: Glad I got a chance to try it. Not exactly what I expected for the style (is this seriously the same style as Rare Vos?), but pretty good.

Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,068 ratings.