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Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

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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 Mudpuppet
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #005

A- Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Riedel snifter. Pours a amber-brown with a little lacy head on it.

S- Nice belgian yeasty nose on it. I get a little sweet toffee and spices on the nose also.

T- It begins with an almost root beery flavor followed by a balanced malt and yeast backbone. I get a lot of yeast notes in this with hints of bread and spices including coriander and cloves. Some Belgian candi sugar/molasses comes out in this too.

M- This is a perfect Belgian dark ale here. Not overly thick but it sticks around in your mouth long enough. Nice natural carbonation that you really feel on the sides of your tongue as you drink it.

D- This would be a five except for the alcohol in the equation. I could have a few glasses of this (and I will!) but the alcohol catches up quickly. Another great one from Russian River!

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

Appearance is amber-ruby with amber highlights with a very thin head that sticks around leaving a full, if fleeting, lace as the beer cascades down the glass. A good amount of carbonation is apparent without tasting. The nose is ripe fruit and coriander with a touch of alcohol and a hint of funk and milk chocolate. Taste is full of more fruit--raisins, some banana, etc.--spice, bread, and milk chocolate. Mouthfeel is smooth and viscous with a nice amount of carbonation.

This is a keeper, without a doubt. Will definitely seek this out whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Photo of rkuhnel
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ah timing is everything. Stopped by RR Brewing on my way home from San Francisco and there was Salvation. While I waited for them to fill my Growler with Pliny the Younger I pleasured my way through a glass of this sublime brew. In the glass it sat a beautiful ruby that was so dark is looked almost brown, and had a small but attractive head and good lacing. Nose was of ripe fruit and flowers, Rich mouthfeel. Flavors are ripe fruit with raisins and plums, and some spices hanging in there at the finish. Delectable brew.

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

This beer pours a very dark brown color, with a thin, white head. The head fades slowly, leaving a good amount of lace.

This beer smells or spice. Coriander, and cloves. Also, it smells yeasty. I detect the alcohol content as well. Also, I can smell some dates

This beer tastes much like it smells. Spicy, with some coriander, cloves, and grains of paradise. It has an earthy yeast flavor also.

This full bodied beer goes down surprisingly smooth, leaving a spicy aftertaste. Carbonation is just right.

I dont know how great of a session beer this would be. It tastes great, but it is high in alcohol, making it hard to put down too many.

Overall: Another great beer from Russian River. I would drink this beer again in a heartbeat.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A creamy head of light tan rises steadily, and with presence, as you pour. It never fades, and rests gently in the glass that way for several ticking minutes, ever so slowly decreasing in size. Solid walls of lace are left behind. To have that kind of head retention in a beer of 9% alcohol is impressive. When held to the light, the body beneath is mostly clear with reddish chestnut highlights glowing inside its very dark, almost black robe.

Inside the nose, delicate notes of sugar and candy dance with wafts of banana and hints of dark fruit skins amidst a lightly chalky yeastiness before a background of shimmering cocoa powder. It's not bold, but it's certainly bright enough, and very enticing!

In the flavor there's a distinct note of chocolate at the first sip that's almost fudge like. It's not bitter or raspy, but also not sweet, although beyond that the beer is sweetish, fruity, and candyish. It's just that the chocolatey side doesn't seem so. Crossing the palate, the dark fruitiness appears next, and it's juicy, but it also displays some edgeiness. I'm thinking of black cherries, dried prunes, a bit of fig, and some dark-skinned bitterness. Some tropical fruit appears... mainly banana, but perhaps a hint of pineapple as well? A fair amount of yeast character is present, candyish and chalky with a light phenolic side that gives some spice (and the banana). It's overall a bit sweetish, but not lingering; and the bitterness is always right there, backing it stiffly... for all it's whimsy chocolate, candy and fruit, it's certainly well reigned in. The yeasty spiciness, and probably a bit more from the alcohol lend a hand, and it finishes dry, and lingering, with more dark-skinned fruit bitterness as the sweetish malt and yeasty fruit and candy quickly fade. A complete turn about! Very nice!

It's rich and enticing, involving you in each sip - but not so overly complex that you can't just enjoy it straight out. It's more of a sipper that you can enjoy slowly after a good meal. And I'd imagine it might be a good cigar beer, although I'm not sure. Highly recommended!

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

note: This bottle was from batch #3, making it 3 months shy of 3 years old. Many thanks to barleywinebrewer for the chance to try this one.

a: This one is a clear medium copper color with some orange amber highlights. It pours with a one and a half inch, foamy, uneven, off-white head which was very long lasting.

s: Nice funky sour yeast notes that smelled mainly of apples with some cherries as well. Minimal caramel sweetness and some flowery alcohol.

t: For the most part mirrors the smell, with perhaps a bit more sweetness than the smell would indicate. Apples and to a lesser extent cherries are the dominant flavors. The finish was very dry with some mild alcohol notes. As it breathes, caramel and brown sugar assert themselves a bit more.

m: The carbonation is lush and foamy. The body of this one has a nice oily quality and is quite dry.

d: I'll probably never get a chance to try batch #3 again, but I'd certainly love the chance to try later batches to compare and contrast with this one. An outstanding offering from Russian River.

Photo of willjschmidt
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle (batch 2) into a Damnation glass.

A: Pours a ruby brown color with a tan head. Excellent head retention to go with very good lacing.

S: Some slightly sweet dark fruits along with a sour aroma.

T: An interesting interpretation of the style. Some dark fruits such as figs and raisins. A little bit of spice as well. It's all followed up by a sour flavor. It's an interesting flavor, almost like a sour fruit.

M: Medium bodied, with very fine and creamy carbonation.

D: A good ale, certainly not the best that Russian River makes but worth a try.

Photo of Floydster
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle acquired in a trade with citrusjim, thanks for giving me the chance to try this beer

Split with a friend tonight, Batch 004, bottle says it can be aged for up to four years

A-Deep brown color with a dark red tint, hug one inch creamy off white head, good retention, lots of small bubbles rushing to the top, incredible lacing

S-Chocolate, various spices, pepper, curacao, bananas, wheat, bready malt aromas, candy-like scents, some raisins, and caramel

T-Very spicy overall with coriander, cinnamon, clove, pepper, some nice banana flavors, dried fruit all over the place, biscuity malt tastes, not as much that was in the smell, prunes, figs, dates, hint of toffee, very faint level of hoppiness, nicely balanced overall with different kinds of malt

M-Fairly thin body, taste lasted a good amount of time, somewhat chewy but creamy mouthfeel for the most part, lots of carbonation

D-Could drink a few bottles of this stuff easy, high ABV though, not too heavy on the stomach, not overly sweet, smooth and goes down very easy, did not seem like this was nine percent

Been wanting to try this for some time, I was curious to see how Russian River did with darker ales, this exceeded all my expectations, highly recommended, cannot wait to drink this again some time, it is supposedly becoming a year round brew like Damnation, amazing beer

Photo of John_M
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the brewpub in Santa Rosa.

I had a number of Belgium style beers this particular night, but for me this one stood out among all the rest.

The beer pours a dark amber color with good head retention and lacing. The beer is quite complex on the nose, with some meatiness interspersed with the sweet orange citrus and canned peach flavor. As good as this beer is on the nose, it's even better on the palate. I get some honey and canned peaches again, but wound around it is an interesting smokiness. This beer is just terrific. There is a very good mouthfeel to this beer, and it's very smooth and creamy. I'd describe it as medium to full bodied, with a well disguised abv. You can tell it's up there, but it's not at all obtrusive.

This beer is very impressive and I must say I quite liked it. I would always order this beer any time I see it; it competes quite favorably with some of the Belgium strong dark ales I've had. Very solid and highly recommended.

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

Batch 002. Dark tawny with bright orange accents. There are very few breweries outside of Belgium that can pull off a Belgian-quality head. Russian River seems to do it with ease. The expansive, golden beige crown possesses every positive quality you'd care to name. And a few more besides.

The nose is a fraction more sour than it should be. Having said that, it's still wonderful and makes me want to take that first big gulp. Bruised banana and fig are nicely complemented by English toffee and a warm clove spiciness.

It's probably being too nitpicky, but there's still too much sourness. Salvation tastes like a BSDA (70%) and a Flanders oud bruin (30%) hybrid. Although there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it isn't what I expected. I like my BSDAs to favor sweet over bitter over sour... assuming they're all present.

The flavor profile pretty much mirrors the nose (with the addition of Granny Smith apples and a hint of cocoa powder). Unfortunately, the depth and complexity that are usually a given in Russian River beer aren't present. Don't get me wrong, a less than stupendous beer from these guys is still better than most Belgian-style ale brewed by their American competition.

The mouthfeel is *merely* good. It doesn't have the creamy, silky expansiveness of the world's best BSDAs, but it's still pleasureable. Alcohol hasn't been mentioned yet because it's nowhere to be found.

I'm not sure if I caught Salvation too early or too late. This bottle is about 18 months old and the brewery says that it can go 4 years at least. Alternatively, maybe it was never destined to be one of Russian River's masterpieces.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Russian River- Salvation

(Batch 005)

A- Deep ruby red with a huge foamy head. Big messy lacing down my glass.
S- Strong spices; pepper and clove dominate. Slight wheat, bubblegum, banana aroma in the end.
T- Thick malt with pepper and clove spices. Deep juicy dried fruits come trough; raisin, prune, fig, and date.
M- Creamy and fruity with an alc. bite in the end. Very dry finish on the back tongue and throat.

Overall- Enjoyable. Probably won't drink again, but definitely worth it.

Photo of calsbeek
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can't go wrong with a beer from Russian River. Vinnie is the master of both American IPA and the Belgian tradition. Everything out of RR is a guaranteed treat and this is no exception.
Excellent carbonation, beautiful fluffy head that held for minutes on end, nice lacing etc...
Deep brown but incredible clarity. Dark fruits that are sweet but not overwhelmingly so.
Supple on the tongue.
delicious brew.

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 750ml at the brewery with dinner a couple weeks ago. I think I'd like to try this beer again when it's a little colder as this one was probably 50 or 55 degrees F. My only complaint is that alcohol became very present.

It poured a nice dark brown color with some redness showing through, relatively clear. The head was slightly offwhite and had a decent retention to it. The aroma was mostly of raisin and dark malts with some yeast smell. There was some slight spiciness underneath it all. The flavor was very complex. The dark malts, the fruit, and possibly some crystal malts were present. Unfortunately the alcohol came out fairly strong here. This is the reason I only gave the flavor a 4.

The body was medium/heavy which is what I would expect from a RR brew. There was some fizziness to it and some bite from the alcohol. Again, I think I would like to try it a few degrees cooler becuase that may squelch some of the alcohol presence. Other than that its a very drinkable beer.

Photo of IdentityAles
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003, tulip glass @ ~45 F

Nose: Very Yeasty, bready, bananas, some spice that I can't put my tongue on, and some candied fruit and caramel notes

Appearance: A dark brownish, red with a persistent white head across the full surface

Flavor: Candied dark fruit, raisins, some smooth breadish flavors, and a small hint of chocolate malt... a great blend of flavors on the tongue

Mouthfeel: Very sprite on the tongue fits well with the flavor and aroma, medium to thin body, dry, and fairly high carbonation.

Overall: A very nice American style Dubble. The yeast goes great with the dark malts and the mouthfeel really caps off another amazing beer from Mr. Cilurzo and the Russian River Crew!

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

Batch 002

Pours a clear dark ruby brown with a tan head. Massive lacing. Nose is slightly sweet with a touch of yeast influence. Also heavy amounts of caramel as well. Flavor is tart and tangy. There is a pungent sweet flavor mixed with a slight citric/fruity one. Caramel tones very present. On the end you get an almost bitter edge which seems odd to me off this style. Feel is decent. Not a ton of carbonation and bubble over your tongue, but it is thick with character from ingredients. It is drinkable, yes. In a blind taste test, I doubt anyone would be able to tell that this one came from the U.S. (and not Belgium). However, I feel as if it lacks a level of maturity and oomph that would ever send me back to drinking it again. In the back of my mind, I do wonder if it needed some more age on it.

Photo of TexIndy
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #004. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my DT snifter. It was a dark rich mahogany color. It had a small light tan head that quickly settled into a thin collar. The aroma was sweet with fruit and a spicy undertone. Could also sense a bit of the alcohol. Unlike most BSDA's that I've had this year, this one didn't have an over-reliance on dark fruit (raisins mainly) and alcohol. Most BSDA aromas bug me with those but this one was very enjoyable. The same went for the taste. It had a much richer flavor for me than the others which I found too raisiny and hot. It has a sweet taste that stays well short of cloying. The aftertaste builds on the sweetness in a good way. Gotta say this is one of maybe 2 BSDA's that I'd look forward to drinking again right now. Highly recommend. It's not available here or it'd be a several time a year player. For now, I'll have to rely on my best friend's brother to ship us some a couple times a year. (Reg rotation (if was avail))

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

Drank out of a snifter. Batch #004. Tried side-by-side with Avery Salvation and Collaboration not Litigation.
A: Crytal clear but very dark. Light on bubbles, but they do stick around.
S: Belgian spicines, woody, alcohol. I can't get much of a reading on it.
T: Complex flavors at front with heat evident at end. Sweet apple - Jonalicious?, and coffee at end. Lingering hop bitterness at end but no distinct hop flavor.
M: Smooth then fizzy followed by heat.
D: Easier as I go.

Photo of canucklehead
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I drank this one on my 40th birthday amongst great beers such as unibroue 2005, Deus and other big Belgians. I noticed the complexity and drinkability of this beer stood out for me. Vinnie has the ability to create beers that have many levels and yet nail the styles attempted .I loved the dark fruit notes and the endless finish on this brew. A true American classic.

Photo of aforbes10
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up at City Beer Store in San Francisco. Pours coca-cola colored, brown to red. Thin but resiliant tan head. Quick lacing. Smells of bananas and other fermenting fruit. Taste is overly alcohol laced, at least at first. Aggressive fruitiness and heavy spice comes through to balance out the ethanol punch. Flavor settles nicely after a while and becomes a nice complex Belgian. creamy and puffy mouthfeel. full bodied. Overall, too much for me, especially for the first glass or so. Flavor is slightly muddled and too much of an obvious alcohol presence. My least favorite of the Russian Rivers i've tried. Maybe im just more of a fan of the wild ales.

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

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with some deep mahogany highlights. One finger head falls quickly. Some spotty lacing developed during the session.

Smell: alcohol, spicy yeast, fruit and brown sugar sweetness are easy to detect.

Taste: very complex beer. Huge malt backbone with large amounts of plums, raisins, and prunes. Yeast, pepper, and other spiciness is softer but still quite noticeable. Alcohol is wrapping itself all over this providing the warming sensation you get during the session. Along with this a general tartness comes around while swallowing.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Aftertaste is long and the flavors glue themselves to your tongue. Smooth throughout, and the finish is quite dry.

Drinkability: a real slow sipping beer that will last you through the evening. Flavor profile seems to get more intense as it warms. Everyone should give this complex brew a try.

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

Pours an absolutley perfect dark chocolate black. Huge but controlable head that doesn't go away for a long, long while.

Smells pretty light. Some sweet nodes, some hints of toasted malt. Good, but I was kind of hoping for something more intense.

Whew! What a wonderful mix of sweet tanginess and dark roasted maltiness! Apples and figs--very light, much more tangy than tart or sour--give way to a crisp, schwarzbier-y roasted malt that gives way to a nice, very refreshing, lightly sweet malt finish. No real nodes of hops, but none are necessary.

Yet another great beer from a brewery that can apparently do no wrong.

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

batch 003. pours a hazy ambery/brown/mahogany with a big tan head that leaves some serious lacing. i could smell it while i was pouring, but the nose ended up being not as strong as i expected. still good though. sweet bread, figs, raisins, and a bit musty. similar to rochefort 8, or all the other incredible beers in this category. taste reveals a few more fruit flavors like a hint of banana, some spice, and alcohol that seems dry at first, but doesn't burn going down. it kind of floats around and hits my olfactory station while the rest goes down to my belly. that was interesting. hops also come through ever so subtly, like they'e just there to enjoy the brew like me. on the heavy side of medium body and ever so drinkable and enjoyable, this brew has some serious serious competition. if i had never tried a ton of other brews in this style that are simply gifts from the heavens, i would have thought this brew was the best thing ever. i still think that the RR crew is super talented, and that this beer is also a gift from God. I believe it is a must try and a company that all of us BA's should be proud of. thanks RR, keep 'em coming!

Photo of arizcards
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle of Batch 004 from the brewpub in early May.

Beer poured into my Duvel tulip glass with a nice tan head emerging initially. Nose is of Belgian yeast, banana, and other fruits. Taste is awesome! A complex medley of chocolate, pepper, banana, raison, rum alcohol, spices, and the classic abbey dry finish - amazing! Mouthfeel is very smooth across the palate and is medium bodied. Drinkability is very good. The alcohol is not prevelant in the taste but warms as it goes down. Excellent beer that must be tried if you have an opportunity!

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.

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.

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