Salvation - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,030 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,030
Reviews: 451
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 343
Gots: 222 | FT: 7
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: 1,030 | Reviews: 451 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,030 ratings.