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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

973 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 973
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 337
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: 973 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Wasatch
4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to MuddyFeet for this brew.

750ml Bottle Caged/Corked

Batch 003

This is my 900th review, so I thought I would go with something very special, what else than a RR brew.

Poured into a chalice a nice clean/clear mahongany color, very nice carbonation, awesome two-finger plus creamy tan head, lots and lots of creamy sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is malty, nice touch of yeast, figs, raisins, plums, and a nice touch of caramel. The taste is also awesome, malty, sweet/tangy, got the RR touch of yeast they are know for, dark fruits/caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well, you would never know this was a 9% ABV brew. Medium body, well-rounded, complex brew. Very drinkable, MAN! this brewery knows how to brew awesome beers. Highly recommended.

Wasatch, Sep 28, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle received via I Want That BIF from lou91. Corked and caged, Batch 004. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1 1/4" tan head over the bright burgundy brew. Frothy head lasts and lasts, due to generous rejuvenation from the bottom constantly sending up more and more tiny bubbles. Even snowcones over the rim for awhile. Lacing is a heavy full coating.

Aroma is rich and tart. Taste follows starts with hearty dark maltiness, coupled with potent spicing, goes a bit tart in the middle, and then fades away with alcohol notes. Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and drinkability is top-notch. Another exciting -tion brew from RR.

ppoitras, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of Overlord
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely great.

Yet another great offering from Russian River. Pours a beautiful dark brown/amber color with, I kid you not, glints of ruby red peering out at you. Nice thick head that just will. not. die. Great lacing and mouthfeel.

The taste is quite complex. Let it sit on your tongue and warm, and just watch/feel as it changes right before you eyes/tongue. Bananas and apricot and other sweet citruses give way to malt and then finally to a bitter, pleasantly warming finish.

So good.

Overlord, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of mnapier
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Service Temp, 40 tedegrees. Service glass, 12 ounce German Balloon.

By observation I see a nice orange with some density. Head retention is along the lines of a nice mild white head with some light lace.

Swirling the glass around I detect some floral, light apricot & orange citrus
Speaking as minor student in Belgian style Golden Ales, I detect some cloying and a mild citrus along with a nice sharpness, a little bit of spice.
Mouthfeel on the whole is medium with a slight weight.

Overall a pleasant Belgian Style Golden Ale.

mnapier, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of Beerzebub
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4. Purchased at Blackwell's in San Francisco. 60 degrees F

Deep, dark ruby. Beautiful. Dense beige head. Lace like a herd of small dinosaurs.

Smells of caramelized and burnt sugar, dark fruit/raisins, cocoa, solvent, tropical fruit like guava, and miso. A hint of citrusy hops, like orange rind. Both sweet and savory. Rich, cohesive, and delicious.

Tastes of rich chocolaty dark malt and dark caramelized sugar, tropical fruit, dark fruit. Perfectly balanced medium sweetness. Warming solventy esters and alcohol. Citrusy hop flavor, orange rind. The roasted flavors include something like miso and soy sauce. A restrained hop bitterness is in the background, integrated with the roastiness. Long, balanced finish. Complex, balanced, and very tasty beer.

Smooth and sticky mouthfeel. Highly drinkable and enjoyable.

A great and characterful beer.

Beerzebub, Jul 16, 2007
Photo of brentk56
4.95/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 004

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark brown color with garnet highlights; nice head drops quickly to a murky film but leaves a dancing pattern of lacing

Smell: Crème Brulée, banana pudding, malted milk, rum raisin and some alcohol

Taste: Starts out with a milk chocolate and vanilla pudding aspect that grows spicy by mid-palate, with dark fruit and prickly cinnamon; after the swallow, the malted milk flavors make an appearance and are joined by banana, vanilla, and an earthy hop element that blends to the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with prickly carbonation

Drinkability: Truly extraordinary; why this isn't in the Top 100 is beyond me

brentk56, Jul 11, 2007
Photo of flexabull
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #4 from the brewery.

Pours a nice deep dark brown color with a huge solid white head. Looks great.

Smells of biscuits, burnt sugars, roasted malts, and sweet dark fruits.

Tastes of dark chocolate, spices, slightly burnt caramel and roasted malts. There is a tart and dry finish, that is crisp from a hint of hops and a stewed taste of grainy fruits. The flavors are pretty complex on this one.

Mouthfeel is nice. Very smooth, subtle, and full flavored.

Drinkability is great. This is a very nice Belgian Dark Ale, a great example of the style. Russian River hits it out of the park again... what else is new?

flexabull, Jul 05, 2007
Photo of bosco7
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 004

750 ml bottle obtained at the brewpub.

Deep dark brown almost opaque with a white silky head. Some of the finest lacing I have ever seen.

Chocolate, prune, burnt caramel, and toffee aromas.

Starts off sweet with milk chocolate coating the mouth then moves into dark caramel, fig, toffee, and raisin flavors. Finishes dry with a pleasant earthy yeast flavor, black pepper, and elegant hop notes. Probably one of the most complex American versions of the style. Exceptional.

So silky smooth with just enough carbonation to refresh the palate.

This is a must try if you can get it. I love this beer.

bosco7, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 004

Poured slowly into a Caracole tulip. Nice lacing, a good amount of tan foam. First impression is that it looks like a trappist ale. Deep mahoghany tone, ruddy brown.

Burnt caramel, molasses, nutmeg & other spice. Later has a solvent alcohol note at room temperature. Faint wildflower and mild citrus. Residual earth and bittersweet cocoa tones, very malty. Suggestion of raisin, or similar dried dark fruit. Complex, but not over the top. Very smooth and mellow. Good level of carbonation. Long aftertaste of caramel, banana, and possibly aged hops. Marshmallow softness.

The abv limits this to one bottle in a session, it's easily enjoyed though. It's good, but not as unique as RR's barrel-aged offerings. Still leaps and bounds over any other American BSDA.

emerge077, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of 0tt0
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle decanted into a Duvel glass.

Dear God, is this beer a sight... Nearly opaque and topped with one of the most lovely heads I've ever seen. Tightly bubbled, its sits up proud then slowly likes to fall, but its former self clings tightly to the side of the glass. With nose to glass, I get caramel and bread, with nuts and spice. If this nose is any indication, this would be insane with some rich bread pudding. Down the hatch.... Man is it tasty! Caramel, like the nose suggests, along with raisins and a bit of rum. Alcohol is evident in the finish and it warms the whole chest. There is a medium finish with the snappy hops rolling across the tongue. Nothing short of astonishing. Mouthfeel is creamy, with a slick lovely texture. Carbonation is spot on. This beer is dangerous. At 9%, its insane how easy this bastard is to drink. Almost perfect... Kudos to Russian River. And to think, the brewer behind Pliny also makes this dream beer. Amazing!

0tt0, Jun 23, 2007
Photo of walshclimb
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - very dark amber to dark chestnut. Thin lacy head.
Smell - subtle matl, slightly yeasty and spicy
Taste - Rich malt, nutty with a hint of citrus
Mouth - medium bodied, very smooth, slightly foamy
Drink - Very drinkable. I wish I could buy it in New Mexico

walshclimb, Apr 27, 2007
Photo of MuddyFeet
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.

MuddyFeet, Apr 01, 2007
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.

stereosforgeeks, Mar 24, 2007
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.

neonbrown82, Mar 23, 2007
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.

Georgiabeer, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of crwills
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!

crwills, Feb 27, 2007
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.

weeare138, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of Derek
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!

Derek, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of grub
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.

grub, Feb 23, 2007
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.

dfried, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of rarevos
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.

rarevos, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of CharlesDarwin
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!

CharlesDarwin, Feb 07, 2007
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.

jaluria, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of barleywinebrewer
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.

barleywinebrewer, Feb 01, 2007
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....

ReebShorts, Jan 05, 2007
Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 973 ratings.