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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

972 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 972
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.02%
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: 972 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GClarkage
4.05/5  rDev -1%

06/01/06- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, both caged and corked...listed as batch #1. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Super dark amber, maybe even light black licorice or light brown color. Large poofy while foamy head...at least and inch. Wonderful 1/2 inch remains for the haul. Nice sheeting of lace is left behind. Textbook.

Smell- A nice mixture of fruit and sweet chewy scented malt. Myabe like a fudge brownie/cooked caramel scent to combine with some kinda tropical fruit scent...kiwi? Passion fruit? You have to dig in to get these smells though...my only knock against the smell.

Taste- Mid range caramel malt combines with a chocolate flavor with intermitent tastes of banana and clove. Sweet at times, a wee bit sour at times. It's missing something small to pull it all together though. It's still very good, but something...not sure what it is...could make this a tremendous beer. Maybe aging?

Mouthfeel- Biting and a bit gaseous carbonation. Short lived aftertaste and a bit drying.

Drinkability- I really enjoyed this brew. Not up to the benchmark Belgian ones, but for an American made one of this style, I give two thumbs up. Gee, another good beer from RR....what a suprise.

GClarkage, Jun 02, 2006
Photo of SethB2
4.13/5  rDev +1%

Poured from a bottle into a Russian River Damnation tulip glass. Batch 001. I have another bottle that I'm going to store for a couple of years to compare results.

Beer pours a dirty, non-transparent deep brown color with a massive head that lasts for a good bit before settling into a nice ring around the bottom. Lacing is also very nice. Smell is fairly typical for a Beligian styled ale. Clove, bananna and some fruity yeasts dominate. Nice smell beer, but my inclination is that it might be need to mellow out a bit. The taste confirmed my suspiscion. It has a nice clove kick up front that paves the way for the ripe fruity taste going down. It's a bit harsh, but a year or two in the bottle might make this into more that a good beer. It could be great.

Mouthfeel and drinkablity are also nice. Very good stuff from one of the best breweries on the planet.

SethB2, Jun 01, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev -1%

Bottle (Courtesy of Jimbowood): Poured a dark brown color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention. Aroma of spices with strong malt presence and funky yeast. Taste is at first dominated by some spices with some semi-sweet dry fruits. There is also some subtle sourness, which doesn’t dominate but is very enjoyable. Body is above average and alcohol is well hidden. Another winner from this great brewery who in my mind is probably currently doing the best Belgian in North America.

Phyl21ca, May 24, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%

750 ml bottle purchased at Hollingshead Deli in Orange, CA for $7.49 in April, 2006.

Pours a very pretty clear medium brown with gorgeous deep red highlights bouncing off the prisms of my Westmalle goblet. A medium tan head looks pretty for a moment or two before disappearing to a thin coverlet.

Aroma is rich, dark sweetbread, slightly spicy, very good.

Flavor ir rich, malty, roasty, with dark fruits (cherries, figs, dates), cinnamon, generally pleasant. But unfortunately, it ends with a very strong alcohol burn- much too strong. Not as bad as a few others I could name, but it's up there. This just brings the beer down in my mind, quickly lowering the overall enjoyment, and it kills drinkability. Too bad too, because the rest of the beer is quite nice!

Dukeofearl, May 11, 2006
Photo of MSchae1017
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%

This beer was tasted in a snifter from a 750 mL bottle shared with timtheenchanta.

This beer pours a deep red with a big off white head that holds well and laces fantastically. This beer smells up front with the beligan yeast along with some fruity esters. Some aromas may include apples, bannanas, and plums. The beer also exhibits a strong taste of yeast but more flavors open up through the taste including some spiciness and sourness. The mouthfeel is decently thick with serious amount of dryness. Overall a very good belgian with still some room for improvement.

MSchae1017, May 05, 2006
Photo of timtheenchanta
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%

Nice fluffy huge expected Belgian-style head. Orangish copper color with thin spotty lacing.

Huge yeasty nose with lots of spicy alcohol. With hints from the bottle, I find some banana aroma coming from the glass.

It starts out malty and slightly sweet (a bit like grapes) with some yeasty undertones and the taste quickly turns to sour fruit. It dries out drastically at the end. There's a ton of complex flavors coming through that I have trouble picking out.

The dry finish ruins this one a little for me. It's a very interesting drink with tons of flavor. The sour flavors threw me off a little. I'll pick this up again if I find it in a store or have it a little more readily available. I don't know that I'll order online again.

timtheenchanta, May 05, 2006
Photo of Bitterbill
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured from 750ml bottle(Batch 001, room temp) a deep gold/brown with a large head of foam and lots of lacing that dissipated slowly but stayed for the entire session.

The smell is quite fruity...notes of plum and lemon dominate with some yeast nose there as well.

The taste is a wonderful mix of fruit. I taste plum as well as some grapefruit bitterness and that's offset almost immediately by good caramel sweetness from the malt. Wow. And.. the finish leans toward the sour with a bit of the alcohol creeping in but, not too much. Very complex and enjoyable!

Bottom line: Yet another winner from Russian River that does not fail to please my palate. I recommend it!

Bitterbill, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of frazbri
4.58/5  rDev +12%

Russian River Salvation poured deep, dark brown in my chalice. It was clean and clear with a tall, rocky, off-white head. It had an orchard like aroma, with apples and a hint of bananas. The initial taste had a citrus kick. Lemon zest, whole grain bread, and granny smith apples emerged later along with a mild bitterness. The body was light, with fairly high carbonation.

Another delicious beer from Russian River. It is wild and funky without descending into flavor anarchy.

frazbri, Apr 26, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

This bottle was part of my stash I had shipped from RR to a relative in Minnesota and then my wife brought it back in her luggage from Mn along with 11 other RR bottles. The things you have to do to get great beer when living in Pa. Batch 001. This beer poured a brilliant dark amber color with a slight tan head. The aroma is a bit malty, caramelly and with a touch of fruit, maybe raisins. You also get a bit of the abv in there. Very pleasing to my sniffer. The taste is big. There is a great malt backbone with more raisins and figs. I also got some toasted notes, a bit of chocolate. The body is medium and makes for a pretty drinkable beer, even with an abv of 9%. Another fine beer from RR.

ggaughan, Apr 23, 2006
Photo of pjwilson
4/5  rDev -2.2%

bought at the sonoma wine exchange for $6.89
appearance: dark, dark amber, but not quite dark brown. nice head that chills for a bit, then fades. no lacing going on here.

smell: mostly booze frankly, not really that good of a smeller. what little is there is slighty nice, but not super complex

taste: a different take on the Belgium Strong Dark, but nice nonetheless. a strong booze precence, light malts. the second pour produces a better taste with more of the yeast involved. a suprising uncomplex and almost "bland" beer, but enjoyable in that manner for some reason. the yeast pour is much more tangy, sort of complets the beer a bit more. don't follow the label telling you the leave the yeast in the bottle...pour that ish in.

mouthfeel: really, really lite, you know lots of suger was used in this. This beer is almost like, BSDA lite, although the 9 percent warms the belly nicely. this drinks like a session beer half the strengh

drinkablility: i like it, despite the apparent blandness, it still beckons for aditionial sips. It's a fast sipper,

a nice beer, that drinks on the light side. a good afternoon sipper, but not on the knock your socks off leval, of say Gulden Draak or Trios Pistoles imo, but this beer is different ground so that is ok. well worth a try, (order it from the website if you can't find it), but don't lose any sleep over this one if you can't find it...love you russian river.!

pjwilson, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

From my notes on recent trip, poured into a sampling glass, arrived a dark amber bordering on brown, with a fair head and lacing down the glass. Aroma is caramel malts and ripened fruits, like raisins. Quite nice. Taste is likewise with dark fruits of figs and raisins and such, with slight chocolate and coffee notes, i love these malts. Mouth is good, medium with ok carbonation. A very drinkable beer in my book.

objectivemonkey, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of meathookjones
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

750ml bottle from Batch 001. Deep dark amber brown colored body with a nice foamy light tan head. Some light lacing was left on the glass. Aroma of ripe fruits with caramel is strong. Some light spices and yeast notes round it out. Taste starts off a bit sugary with some more sweetness from some figs and raisons. Light spiciness cuts through the sweetness. Mild roasted notes towards the end where it finishes up with more fruits. Solid body that’s well carbonated and carries the flavor well. An easy drinker for the strength. Another solid offering from Russian River.

meathookjones, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of sloejams
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%

Salvation, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, was refermented - a second yeast added, when bottled. When poured into the tulip glasses, the dark, almost mahogany color. A slight head topped the well laced medium bodied ale. The aroma was big – the yeast shined through with flavors of raisin, banana and clove with the malt background.

The taste has an earthiness to it: it starts fruit than the roasted malt coffee then the subtle oak flavors. It’s very well balanced. This could class with any of the better Belgian Strong Darks: Gulden Draak, Chimay Grand Reserve, etc – something few American made Belgian beers could do.

Russian River suggests, “All in all, this beer could use some bottle age to mellow out.“ I think this is quite delicious right now, but I do have one saved cellaring. Russian River never lead me wrong before.

sloejams, Apr 11, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

Batch 001, Sampled April 2006
Interesting notes of chocolate and coffee waft to my nose as I pour this beer into my glass. The beer pours with a frothy, light tan colored head that is initially three-fingers thick. The beer itself is a dark amber-brown color that shows a brilliantly clear, ruby-amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma is an interesting thing I was expecting more chocolate notes, but the first thing I get is a spicy, tart aromatic note. The tartness is a mix of tamarind and grapes, but moves into a fruity raisin-like notes. There is an earthy spiciness here that mixes with a woody, spicy oak-like note (I wasn't expecting the oak notes in this beer, nothing I have seen says it was aged in wood, but the notes are definitely there). Towards the end it picks up the dark malt notes; notably a nice toasted malt note.

This beer is quite fruity up front, an interesting mix of prunes, fresh figs, and raisins. The finish is quite contrasting to the fruit flavors up front; dry malt notes of toasted grain, sharp chocolate notes and lightly roasted coffee, again there seems to be some woody tannic notes and a bit of spicy oak. This woody note is interesting as I don't think this was actually ever in contact with wood. I think that the spicy oak and wood notes are perhaps attributed to some hot, spicy notes derived from fermentation. This beer has a medium full mouthfeel to it; just enough to be a bit chewy, but note so much to keep this from beeing drinkable. Definitely hits the dance between palate fullness and drinkability that strong beers from Belgian so often hit, but so often is missed by American brewers.

This is quite a good beer, but I think that it will improve quite a bit with some age, it should soften up and mellow a bit with at least 6 months or perhaps even a couple of years of age. As the beer warms up it becomes a bit drier and the chocolate and toasted malt notes become a bit more prominent. It also becomes a bit softer and rounder, and just a bit more easy to drink. All in all a very interesting, characterful, complex brew. I certainly think this will age quite well for many years.

Gueuzedude, Apr 09, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%

Batch 001.
(Brewed on 10-Jan-06 and Bottled on 16-Feb-06)
Primary: R.R. Belgian Ale Yeast 1
Conditioning: R.R. Wine1

Described (Website) as;
9.0%ABV / 1.081 O.G / 22 BUs
Salvation: This Belgian-style strong dark ale has a tawny brown color and strong notes of banana and spice that dominate the initial aroma of the beer. Subtle malt flavors blend perfectly with fruit-driven characteristics created by the classic Belgian yeast used to ferment this ale. The alcohol content is deceptively high, similar to its sister beer Damnation. Silver Medal, 1999 World Beer Cup (Belgian Ale Category). Rotational release. Available on draft in the Brewpub, in Northern California, and Southern California.

Presentation: Invested in several 750 bottles of the newly bottled Salvation this past week. Gray label has the word “Salvation” in green extended-height text across a picture of some Shears. Has most of the above blurb on it and Four Egg-Timers, indicating that it will keep for up to 4 years.

Appearance: Polished horse-chestnut brown body with a tangible dark ruddy-orange hue. Nice tan head accentuates the mahogany in the base beer and forms a firm looking 1” thick crown cap straight off the bat. The expanded foam head soon compacts down to a creamy looking Vicar’s dog-collar with some plastered lacing clinging to the sides. Firm conditioning.

Nose: It needs some warmth to reveal the darker fruits, but the sweet raisins and malts blend with a mulled yeast and baked wholemeal bread. Aromas had that heavy hanging ‘fermenting yeast’ odor so often witnessed above Yorkshire Squares.

Taste: Entrance is malt dominated with a crisp feel. Middle has lots of dark fruits with a gentle hint of dark chocolate syrup coated Banana slices. Finishes with some warmth but it has that “Kasteel” quality whereby the alcohol seems to vaporize in the throat and rises up your nose from inside the mouth, bringing with it some hot flavors that tingle. Bitterness is low in BU terms but it still adds a clean crispness to the dark fruity ending. Rather dry, at times.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a mild complexity in the texture, but the alcohol “in the nasal burps” tends to add a sharp aspect to the finish.

Drinkability: I found this rather appealing after I adjusted to the warm nasal alcohol. In fact I contemplated maybe even cracking a second one, but straight from my room temperature beer closet rather than the fridge.

Overall: Reminded me of Alesmith Decadence in some respects, not so much flavorwise, but in the fact that it needs some warmth and probably a little aging, but not much, maybe just 6 months, to really improve this one. It may be suitable for 4 years, but I will be back in the Summer to revisit this one!

TheLongBeachBum, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of bruachan
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%

on tap at the source

early vinous flavors with some special B coming through (i think i taste this in every beer i drink. maybe i need to recalibrate). mahogany color with signs of a head that might have been

though i've never demanded excitement from my beers, this one was not overly complex. my least favorite of RR's offerings so far

bruachan, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of francisweizen
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

Dark ruddy orange/brown with a nice head of light brown/tan foam that leaves some nice lacing patterns. Aromas are all malty sweetness, dark candi sugar, toffee, and more. The taste is malty sweet, bready, and full of caramel notions, but the hops that are in this brew are really muted and subtle. The mouthfeel is thick and almost cloying, and the drinkability is pretty damn good as well. Not my favorite RR beer at all, but still very nice, and very good for this often dissapointingly made in the US style.

francisweizen, Jun 01, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%

Appearance – This one came out of the tap a dark, orangish-brown in color with a huge, retentive head.

Smell – The big dark Belgian yeast smelled delicious. I picked up what I thought were some light woody notes in here as well. The complexity of the malts was amazing. I found myself wishing I had a thesaurus to help describe these smells. Let’s just say it was a big, complex, malty BSDA.

Taste – The sharp toasty yeast was very doughy on the tongue. The malts themselves were, again, very thick and complex. I could pick up a hint of banana along with some alcohol notes that seemed just right for the size of the flavors.

Mouthfeel – This wasn’t full-bodied but was bigger than medium. There’s a light alcohol sting to this 9.4% batch and the ale was very creamy in the mouth. The carbonation was big and fluffy and seemed perfect for the style.

Drinkability – This one is closing on 10% ABV and it is smooth as smooth can be. What a great beer!

RoyalT, Mar 10, 2005
Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Tap@Russian River Brewpub. Heavy sweetness, lots of figgy caramel flavours, with some late acidity to balance it out, bit too sweet though. Some sweet vanilla and pear also noticed, but not quite my cup of tea in the end, will definitely try again one day though.

rastaman, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of garthwaite
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%

Sampled on tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica. This brew poured a deep amber with a massive rocky tannish head which was mostly gone within a few short minutes. Certainly banana & spice in the aroma as advertised. Also some background hints of caramel malty sweetness & really ripe peach. Moderate quantity of caramel malt provides a foundation for the yeastiness to shine. Deep & dark fruit flavors seem to come & go as a subtle bitterness & almost clove-like spiciness make brief appearances. Ripe banana and sweetened raisins in the finish. Full bodied & wickedly dry, this is a very nice brew.

garthwaite, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of watermelonman
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

This arrived as a great deep and dark color with very dark purple tones. There isn't much head but I'm actually getting a nice little lace down the glass here.

The taste is primarily of a fruit and berry mixture. Not like a fruit or berry beer, mind you, but like a well-done belgian ale with good layers of flavor. The grains are somewhat apparent in the finish. The alcohol content is evident in the smell but not the taste.

watermelonman, May 25, 2004
Photo of Mark
3.15/5  rDev -23%

Compared to other Belgians my ranking of this one must appear pretty high. This 9% monster poured a nice copper color, off white head lasted long and left decent lace patterns. Aroma was of some banana and of course yeast. While taste profile was on the smooth side, there was noticible alcohol. Banana was on the mellow side and some bready yeast was detectable. A well made brew that once again just does not do it for me. I wish it did.

Mark, May 09, 2004
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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 972 ratings.