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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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1,084 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,084
Reviews: 460
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 9.78%
Wants: 346
Gots: 249 | FT: 12
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: 1,084 | Reviews: 460
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
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
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
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
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
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
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
2.92/5  rDev -28.6%
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
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
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
4.94/5  rDev +20.8%
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
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
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
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jhenry04 for this bottle.

Dark brown body with an off-white head. Not a lot of retention, but a bit of lacing. Some sediment floating around in there too.

Smell is pretty complex. Roasted malts, dark fruits, some citrus notes, candied sugar.

Sweet up front, lots of dark fruit. Roasted malt follows fairly strongly. Finishes boozy.

Medium bodied, the alchol warms and burns in the finish and after tasted.

Pretty drinkable, a little boozy still. Overall, a good brew.

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

Pours a brownish color, slightly hazy after a second pour, with ruby orange highlights. Medium tannish head which is somewhat fizzy and good balanced carbonation. Smell is good. Some toasted banana bread and sweetness along with a nice spice. Taste is just great. The sweetness isn't there on the scale I thought it would be. Banana and spice again, with toasted bread and yeast. Caramel and brown sugar interplay nicely and never become too much. A solid mouthfeel with ample carbonation. Light spice and a touch of tartness, it's very smooth with a light tickle on the tongue. This is quite easy going down as well. I enjoyed the limited sweetness of this beer and how it worked with the rest of the components. Reminds me somehow of a bigger Brown Ale with a Belgian influence.

Photo of Viggo
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a hazy brownish orange, very thick off white head forms, tons of lacing, settles to a solid ring, this looks good. Smell is neat, dark fruit, caramel, toast, a bit yeasty, some citrus and floral, chocolate, touch of roast, quite nice. Taste is sweet, very fruity, cherries, chocolate, raisins, yeasty bread, quite rich flavour, but a little sweet I found. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation. Nice beer, but I found it a bit cloying almost and heavy due to the carbonation being low. Maybe it will be higher in the bottle, but still a nice beer.

Photo of paytoplay
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tough to judge appearance because it doesn't matter. This might be the worst looking beer I've had. But the smell taste and moutfeel were all superb. I prefer this from bottle than keg. It was intense and more focused. Seemed to need to be aged more, thus my 2nd bottle will be hidden away for a year or 2, well thats the plan anyways.

Great balance and clean mineral taste that is something I find unique in this brew. Drank from a pint, was on the road so no tulip which would of helped. Some dry herbs, almost fig / blueberry type flavors also. Didn't get banana like others, some spice and anise and vanilla. Very interesting and a great and memorable brew.

Photo of deanhead
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice Deep rich Ruby color with more then adequate carbonation.

Aroma is rummy with currants, raisins coffee and Kaluah.

Taste is fabulous. It's very complex tasting malt backbone, lightly hopped for bitterness. WoW!

This is a full bodied dank beer with big mouthfeel. Highly drinkable. This beer certainly has some legs to it. Well done. It has this voyeuristic alcohol presence. It is so well hidden that it is scary.
Hard to believe there is so much alcohol in this relatively easy drinking strong dark ale.

I really enjoyed drinking this beer and would recommend that you try it if you can get your hands on it.

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

Batch 006, courtesy of swnicholson. Thanks!

Pours a full dark black tea colored brown with very nice gleaming ruby highlights. Sandy ivory colored head climbs fully and settles slowly, fed by some very active carbonation. Nice sticky gobs of lace.

Smells nicely of banana, fig, slightly sour yeast, dough, and bread crust. Fruit and grains are very nicely balanced.

Much less fruitiness in flavor than I anticipated, balanced rather delicately into the overall taste. Bright malty notes of toasted bread crust meet some easy mingling of soft banana nut bread, dull spice, and faint fig. There's a mildly bitter spicy overtone that seems to sheer off some of the expected sweetness, replaced with a little more dry tangy yeast and freshly harvested grain.

Medium body with a relatively clean feel. Slight film at the finish and a nicely playful carbonation throughout.

Based on the nose, I think I was expecting this one to be slightly sweeter and fruitier, as I sometimes prefer in this style. This one, however, achieves a very nicely constructed balance of mild fruit and grains with a distinctly Russian River yeast binding. A very pleasant ale that's easy to drink and seems to grow assertively in character with each sip.

Photo of ccrida
4.51/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml (batch 7) poured into my Russian River tulip (one of their 3 tacky glasses I for some reason bought), Salvation is a really dark garnet with an off-white head that's long lasting and leaves heavy chunks of foam.

Smell is pretty muted, from the 55F serving temp through the hr+ it took to finish the bottle, it picked up more sweet caramel and vanilla, creme brulee like. Mostly soft cocoa, some molasses and malted milk.

Taste is rich and very smooth, lots of chocolate gives it a porter/old ale like smoothness, probably some oats, some caramelized sugar and spicy esters, with the creme brulee on the finish. This is fantastic, with just enough sweet dark sugar tang to anchor it in the style.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, oatmeal stout like, with an only slightly heavier body (then a beer normally 1/2 it's strength). While I really love the melding of styles in the taste, the mouthfeel is sublime.

Drinkability, like this beer, is just great. I really love this beer, but it's an obtuse take on the style, a very hybridized strong dark. I normally grade more within style, but this is too enjoyable to be a stickler - killer! Not that it's a score factor, but this glass is lame, and after just picking up the fat Lost Abbey glass, I'll probably not even bother using this for my next standard issue RR...still, I wish I didn't just get a 2nd bottle from the brewery, but they say this one should be available around here soon - in which case it will be a cellar staple!

Photo of HalfFull
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap, pours a ruby brown color with a translucence indicating its light viscosity. Thin head dissipates quickly and stays away sans any disturbance.

Smells a bit of fruit, banana and dried fruits, and offers a definite yeast sourness, particularly as the beer warms up a bit, and a bit of spicy earthy hops. Taste is refreshing and follows the nose, adding a light touch of candi and a positive malt close. The malts hide the ABV well which only becomes apparent, or more apparent, as the carbonation settles.

Decent feel and drink. Rather light bodied for the style

Photo of Mauerhan
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a nice darkish brown with rich ruby highlights, has a bit of head on the pour but ut fades rather quickly. thin to no lacing. smell is great. tons of malt. practically no hint of alcohol

GREAT TASTE! full flavored and rich. big malty presence light sweetness. I get no sign of the alcohol for a 9 abv you can't tell.

mouthfeel is plesant. medium carbonation. it tickles my tounge. leaves a great aftertaste. very smooth. a medium body that goes down easy.

I am a fan of this beer. I just can't get enough

Photo of IgotsHops
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was my third R.R. experience after damnation and Pliny the elder. Appearance was nearly black with some plumb and raisin color coming through on the edges. A thin lace head stayed in on the top. Smell was of dark fruit, some vegetal or peanut butter, sweet dark candi sugar, and some dark toast.
Tasted extremely clean, with roasted sugar, dark fruit, again the strange peanut butter flavor in the background, and some warming alcohol.
Mouthfeel was syrupy and thick. Coated the palate just right, and cleared away when you wanted it to.
Overall this was very drinkable for a strong dark, but almost too clean. I would have liked to have more esters and phenols (not too many more) on the nose. It could have also been served a bit too cold.
Overall a great beer and I would definitely get it again.

Photo of popery
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A good-looking dark ale. The foam sits on the brown ale pleasantly. The smell and the taste are both sweet and somewhat spicy, but the spice favors the tongue while the sweet favors the nose. The beer has nice carbonation but gets a bit sticky. I would like to try an aged bottle, but this new one lacks a bit in complexity and finish. I'm a little bit disappointed because I was expecting even more, but it's still a pretty great Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Edit: I tried this beer on tap at RR (10/19/08) and liked it even more, so I've raised the scores somewhat. This is an absolutely delicious beer with some of the best coloring that I've ever seen. It's brown with golden highlights at the edges. The flavor is complex, and it succeeds marvelously as a BSD. Wonderful.

Photo of Douglas14
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown with an awesome head that has great retention and lace. The smell is sugary and malty. The taste follows the smell. Very rich malt and brown sugar. God this beer is awesome...ridiculously awesome

...poured at the Stone Brewery.

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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,084 ratings.