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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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1,046 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,046
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 348
Gots: 229 | FT: 10
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: 1,046 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of treyrab
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
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
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
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
3.2/5  rDev -21.8%
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.

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

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown, almost black, with a big frothy cream-colored head. Nice lacing.

S: Phenol, Belgian yeast, spice

T/M: Excellent. Belgian spice. Dark fruits. Hop bitterness on the finish. Good creamy mouthfeel with a nice carbonation.

D: Very smooth and well-balanced. Hides it's 9% abv very well, making it great drinker.

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Three fingers of rocky tan head quickly climbs to the top of my goblet. It slowly fades and leaves waves of considerable lace. Body is a very deep dark warm brown tone. Nose is crisp with dark fruit, green apple, pepper, clay and rustic malt notes all laced together nicely. Enters the mouth with an initial yeastymalt mix. This quickly yeilds to a dominate slightly soured dark fruit feel that is very well balanced and enjoyable. A consistant sweet-tart like sweetness is all over the palate from start to finish. Very crisp and lively on the tongue. Tartness meets the sweet and malt for a great beer. Mouthfeel is ever so slightly thick but very attractive. Nicely drinkable but the 750ml bottle should be split with someone you love.

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

Served on tap at O'brien's TION night in a 5oz taster.

Dark, maybe reddish brown in color. Taste had dark fruits, brown sugar, carmel, figs, lighter in body than I expected. Not my favorite Belgian strong dark, but it's up there. I'd like to see more bottles of this make it out onto the shelves like damnation.

Photo of stemcell001
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pured a robust brown with garnet hues and a slight white head that left a little lace as I drank the ale. Many different smells like candy sugar, raisins, dried fruits, some light malts, etc. The punch of alcohol and sweetness was well rounded out by the matls and soft tartness. I could have drunk this all night if the Brickskeller had another bottle.

Photo of davidw987
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this a couple nights ago.

The appearance was coffee brown with a moderate, brief head.

Smell was not very pungent, but not objectionalbe.

Taste grew on me as the bottle was drained. Fair amount of raisen in the flavor, but also a slight burnt grain flavor.

Mouthfeel was pleasant, also growing on me as the bottle went down and the beer warmed.

It was an easy beer to drink. I'd drink it again, but wouldn't go out of my way to drink it.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a 750 mL bottle on 1/6/09. Batch 008.

The color is reddish brown, not super dark. A moderately sized head forms, maybe a couple cms, an off-white color. The head stays around and leaves decent lacing on the glass. The smell is chocolatey sweet primarily, and after the head subsides a little bit you get a bit more of the alcohol scent. A really nice smell. The taste comes immediately as chocolate and ripe fruits, like raisins and such. There's also a decent alcohol burn and some estery tastes. The alcohol does taste kind of funny, but overall the taste is smooth and rich. A great rush of carbonation comes with each sip, and the beer itself is full-bodied, but the bubbles lend themselves to an odd burn. I could probably drink the whole 750 mL in one night, and that would be it. I enjoyed it, and would love to have more, but can't say that it's at the top of my list to get again.

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

750 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Dark ruby brown with a beige head that leaves thick lacing. Aroma is sweet with a surprising tartness. Brown sugar, licorice, dark wheat bread, raisin, plum, banana, pudding. Flavor consists of a nice blend between maltiness and esters, accented with an oud bruin tartness and some phenolic spices. Very full flavored and full bodied, with the fine carbonation found in all RR Belgians. Awesome beer, and one that can go head to head with a lot of genuine Belgian strong dark ales.

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

Murky brownish red color with a white head that has good retention and lacing. Smell is of dark fruit, clove, and pepper. Taste seems to remind me of Trois Pistole, in that it is a rather spicy Belgian Dark Strong Ale, and I also get the same clove and dark fruits in this. Light bodied with medium carbonation. Very well done, I'd like to give this another try.

Photo of ikats
4.97/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark ruby in color. Off-white head transforms into a nice cover. Beautiful lacing. Aroma is full of candy sugar and dark fruits. Absolutely beautiful and tasty. Sweet bready taste mixed with dried fruits. Not heavy at all and very drinkable. Pleasant mouthfeel - not bitter, but not overly sweet as well.

Extremely enjoyable brew. My bottle is from batch 002 which I picked up on my visit to Santa Rosa brewpub two years ago (in 2006). Wonderful sipping beer.

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

750ml bottle at 53 degrees, vintage 2006, Batch #1.

Pours sparkling clear dark mahogany, with a half inch head of off white. The foam cap settles to a partial skim coat, and broken strings of lacing dress the walls of the glass.

Aromatics are filled with ripe figs, Sherry, cocoa nibs, and dark fruits. Hints of clove, toffee, leather, and grape jam follow through.

Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. A bit sticky and lightly syrupy. The carbonation is a little low for style.

Scorched caramel, dark rum, raisins, and candi-coated figs lead off the palate. Shades of Sherry, red grapes, and leather follow through.

Finishes with traces of leather-wrapped raisins, warming alcohol, and wet cardboard.

Probably the most complex Salvation I've tried, but the oxidation takes away some of the fun.

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

Pours clear brown with an off-white head. Rich, dense aroma of brown sugar, corainder, clove, and a bunch of sweet malt. The flavors follow through without being heavy-handed or syrupy in the mouthfeel. Malt, caramel, figs, yeast, banana, cinnamon, and even some hops all shine. Very, very, good beer.

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

Batch 005

A - Sniftered. Pours a very deep brown with beautiful mahogany highlights. A nice 1 finger, creamy off-white head. Ample carbonation runs through it. Ample lacing.

S - Alcohol, banana/light fruits, bubblegum, spices, caramel, slightly malty backend.

T - Starts slightly sweet and fruity and transforms in my mouth into a roasty maltiness. Basically a huge Belgian Brown, with a slight American twist. The roasty malts, coupled with a slight hop bitterness allows this to transcend a couple styles... which I love. You could call this a Belgian Baltic Porter and not be far off.

M - Highly carbonated, yet not fizzy. Relatively thick body, but it's offset nicely by the bubbles.

D - Going, going, gone.

Notes: Russian River does it again. Time and time again I'm blown away by their brews. They live up to the hype, I'll say that.

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

Fresh from the brewery, half-gallon growler purchased for $13.

Appearance: Chestnut-colored, perfectly clear when held to the light. Pours with a big frothy tan head, nice retention and plenty of sticky lace.

Smell: Cocoa, roasted barley, a trace of alcohol. Lightly fruity and spicy. Less yeast character than the bottled version, but more roasted and bitter.

Taste & mouthfeel: An even mix of chocolate, dark fruit (figs and banana) and molasses. Heavier on the roast and bitterness than most dark Belgians. Medium-bodied, quite drinkable for the ABV and pleasantly dry in the finish, leaving a lingering note of bittersweet chocolate on the tongue.

Photo of corby112
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Monks Cafe in Center City Philadelphia.

Pours a dark cloudy amber with a thick foamy white head. Aroma is a balnce of maltiness and crisp and dark fruit. Very quaffable well balanced beer. Dark fruit flavor is excellently balanced by a healthy amount of malt.

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

A: Pours with a medium-sized light tan head and a dark-brown body.
S: Smells of dark fruit and some sugars.
T: Dark malts, dark fruits, and sour apple. Having had a fair amount of RR Consecration, its pretty apparent that this is the base brew.
M: Full and round and pretty sweet, but not overpoweringly so.
D: Since I bought a growler, obviously it must be somewhat drinkable. Or else, I'm just a college student noticing the 9% abv and trying to get a good deal. A friend and I are splitting the growler over a couple of days. Overall, a pretty drinkable belgian.

Photo of Crosling
2.93/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch 5. Very attractive dark mahogany colored ale, with an authentically Belgian looking head that lasts and laces well. Nose lacks depth and descriptive character. Has some nice elements of dark fruit and toffee, but it lacks intensity and complexity. Batch 5 seems like it's not a great batch.

Photo of kkipple
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A good friend brought back some Russian River goodness from a recent trip out West. Thanks, friend!

A. Deep brown with a small dirty head. Typical Belgian brown I guess... opaque and dense looking. Some active bubbles. Nuthing special.

S. Coffee, oddly. Booze, raisins, fusel alcohol, dark burnt fruit, rather sweet malt profile with some underlying hop bitterness to keep things in check. Smells more hot than 9% would usually... maybe it's just young.

T. Big and roasty with an unexpected mocha note. Prunes, brown sugar, beet sugar (??), and an alcoholic bite to finish. Mildy spicy and rather heavily roasted for the style. Booze reminds me of Rochefort 10 style-heat. And is that mint I'm getting? Strange.

M. Full carbonation and middling body means this is.. as expected. Sweet and a lingering fruity-dry finish. Not bad. Drinkability is average. This is best shared with friends.

Salvation is a good brew, but it lacks that special something to make it great. Try it if you can, but methinks this was a bit overhyped.

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: snifter. deep rich mahogany color, very dark. good off-white head. great retention and outstanding lacing.

S: black currants, belgian yeast, tons of spice, some big baked fall fruits.

T: wonderful flavors, fall fruits, apples, figs, pears, etc. clove and nutmeg. some raisins. big yeasty flavor.

M: medium to full bodied. great carbonation level. very chewy.

D: not sure if RR makes a beer that is not drinkable, unless it is a bad bottle. very nice, and well worth getting.

Photo of tpd975
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at the Falling Rock Denver.

A: Pours a beautiful brown hue with a nice tight cream colored head. Okay retention and a touch of lace.

S: Nice sweet malt aromas with hints of caramel, toffee, and dark fruit. Rather inviting.

T: Wow! What a beer. Tons of sweet caramel up front with hints of brown sugar. Dark fruits dipped in chocolate come next. Light nutty hints, with a bit of banana flavored bubblegum in the finish.

M: Full bodied and ever so smooth. One of the best Belgian Style brews in the world.

D: Very, they served it in a 1/2 pint tulip but could have easily enjoyed several.

Photo of jwc215
4.95/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mfielden for this one!

750 ml cage-corked bottle, poured into tulip glass - Batch 007:

Pours very dark brown with a thin head that becomes swirls.

The smell is chocolate, toffee, dark bubblegum, molasses with an earthy, slightly roasty, spiciness. I can't quite pinpoint it, but the aroma is just incredible.

The taste is complex - chocolate, toffee, dark bubblegum, molasses, chickory with some leather, spicing and dark fruits. There's smoky touch.

It is silky smooth - full, yet not thick. Rich, but oh so drinkable. Alcohol is deceptively well-hidden - as much as could be for abv level, IMO. An awesome rich maltiness that is well-balanced. One of the all-time best beers, IMO!

Photo of waltonc
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap two weekends ago at Falling Rock in the aftermath of GABF. Dark brown with lacing that sticks around for a while. Smell and taste of lots of dark fruit, sweetness, spice, and malts. Medium body and carbonation. Highly drinkable. One of my favorite Russian Rivers.

Photo of GJ40
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Stumbling Monk in Seattle.

A - Served in a simple chalice. This beer is deep, dark brown in color with a thick beige head and lots of lacing. Very nice.

S - A sweet, malty aroma with a touch of Belgian candy sugar (though not as much as you'd find in a true Belgian).

T - A sweet, malty and smooth flavor. The 9% alcohol is hidden very well. I've been off Belgians for a while but this one is fantastic.

M - A thick, syrupy consistency with a good carbonation level.

D - I love Russian River's IPAs but I really didn't expect the quality to translate into their Belgians. I was wrong. This beer stands up well with the true Belgians.

Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,046 ratings.