Salvation | Russian River Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 05-09-2004

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Reviews: 467 | Ratings: 1,205
Photo of JimTeal
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just trying to keep it within the lines. This is one hell-ova beer. Served fresh at the wonderful Russian River Brewery pub, only one word for this, if you understand Belgian Style Dark ale, excellent. Perfectly balanced, subtle but substantial. Sweetness controlled by excellent malts and the background caramel simply teases the taste buds for a smooth finish that lingers on a tantalizing thread of wonderful elegance. Word association: chocolate, molasses, cherry, black grape. One review of this Salvation said this is not an everyday beer, it's a very substantial 9% ABV, lets hope it doesn't get to be too everyday. It is a sip and enjoy a beautifully crafted jewel from RR Brewing Co.

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Photo of Chefgabe77
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I drink this beer 3-4 times a week. I have the pleasure of living in Santa Rosa and thank god every time I put my lips on a Russian River Beer. Dark amber, last batch a little cloudy, with caramel and molasses finish. I usually start and finish my sesh with this beer. I cook for a living and would pair salvation with Duck, Pork, Foie Gras, and any poultry.

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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.

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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!

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Photo of brentk56
4.94/5  rDev +20.8%
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

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Photo of themind
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This beer is amazing! deep brown color when poured into the goblet. The dark fruits, caramel and toffee come thru in the aroma and taste. The carbonation is slightly high for my liking otherwise this would be another 5/5 beer for me. What an incredible, refreshing, ass kicking beer that I could drink all night long. I really, really enjoyed this.

Bottom Line: Legendary beer!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
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.

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Photo of allanplaysguitar
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! I loved this beer!

App - Pours a dark almost opaque ruby.
Nose - Deep dark , figs, dark berries and sweet malts.
Taste - Amazing! Sweet and dark fruits and just a little bit of earthy-ness in the best way possible. Complex but not overwhelming, very balanced.
Mouthfeel - Effervescent but it doesn't distract, but rather compliments the malt thickness.

Over all is this an amazing beer. Really one of the best that I have had. Can't wait to head over the Russian River to do a tasting up that way.

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Photo of prg1976
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 010 - poured into a big old red wine glass.

Pours a deep, murky brown with a super fizzy off-white head. A decent amount of lacing, with about 1/4" of head that sticks around the whole time.

Smell is prunes, raisins, alcohol. With hints of vanilla and chocolate.

Taste is fruity, earthy and hot. The 9% is right there. I think a few years in the cellar would turn this into a much different beer.

Mouthfeel is medium body, with a good bit of carbonation.

Overall, I love this beer. I want to try some with some age on them to see which flavors start coming out as the alcohol fades into the background.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
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.

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Photo of ChazMania
4.82/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled from batch 005. I bought this at Ledgers in Berkeley while on a trip to N. Calif.
Really tight cork, could not twist it off, I needed to use my wine opener! Pours really nice and the spicey aroma made my nose happy and I knew I'm in for a treat. The flavor is huge, malty and just enough dark fruit. It's a very complex beer and I'm not sure I can label all that I'm tasting but it really lasts for a long time. If this had good availability in my area, I think it would enter my regular rotation! Great beer.

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Photo of CJNAPS
4.79/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was surprised how dark this poured a nice dark brown. The flavor was really nice the hops and malts were perfect together. I'm glad i have another one of these to enjoy.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bought this via the RR website. They actually ship to my state!! I'm glad I did. This is a very nice example of what a belgian strong dark ale can be.

A - Rich reddish brown color. A slow pour yields a wonderful clear glowing brew with a nice cascade of bubbles flowing up to a billowy light tan head.

S - Rich dark ripe fruit, buttery caramel malts with a light nice tasty influence of belgian candi sugar and a wonderful belgian yeast aroma.

T - Similar to the smell but melding so nicely. Each taste is an exquisite blend of flavors. No let down as you work through the bottle.

M - Medium bodied, medium carbonation level. smooth and crips across the tongue.

D - Wow, this was an amazing drinking brew. Quite refreshing and one of the best of the style I've had.

There are more from batch 002 in the cellar and man am I glad I took the leap into this brewery on "faith". Buy it if you can get it. It's worth the money.

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Photo of Derek
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
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!

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 010

A- Pours a ruddy, dark raisin brown into my Bruery tulip. A somewhat thin kahki head fades rather quickly, but leaves little bits of tan lacing grabbing on, and holding onto the sides of the glass. Fairly lively carbonation for a Dark Ale.

S- Dark cocoa sheets wrapped around figs/dried cherries/coffee beans... subtle hints of banana mixed in beautifully as well. Lovely hints of horsey funk lays silently beneath the huge chocolate/dried fruit. Really earthy... you can almost breathe in the terrior that everything was grown in!

T- Dark chocolate covered coffee beans, dried mission figs, raisins, pipe tobacco, leather horse saddle, dried cherries. It has a nice little bit of funk lying beneath all those fantastic flavors. Little touches of lemony citrus, black pepper, fennel and clove. Friggin' brilliant!!!

M- Silky, fruity, and full of deep dark fruit! Chocolate covered raisins, subtle hints of bitter coffee/citrus. Absolutely not one hint of the 9% alcohol.

O- Rediculous! Enough said!

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Photo of carln26
4.74/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color, reasonably clear with dark ruby highlights. The beer formed a nice head that showed good retention, but there is no lace left on the side of the glass as it recedes. Nice full nose. Tons of yeasty bread, dark berry fruit in the from of black cherry and black berry tumbles from the glass. Figs, dates, all of the dark caramel essence you would expect from a fine Belgian style ale. The flavor reflects the aroma quite well. The dark berry character comes up front. The black cherry is very prominent. Nice fig element mid drink with just a touch of orange citrus on the finish. Spice comes through late in the finish, just a little nutmeg character. Nice smooth, and full mouth feel. No alcohol heat (surprising at this strength. Really wonderful beer.

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Photo of mdvatab
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 375ml corked/caged bottle into Ommegang chalice.
Batch 010

Aroma: Spicy clove, root beer, sweet carmelized sugar, tart cherry, and a funky brett (?) note that I don't remember smelling in a BSDA before, but which works pretty well.

Appearance: THICK, light tan, 3+ finger pillowy head of foam. Dense foam clings to the inside of the glass. Dark, ruby brown body with good clarity. One of the best looking beers I've seen!

Flavor: Burnt caramel, a touch of port, root beer, extremely well-balanced sweetness (not cloying). Well-hidden alcohol. Spicy yeast profile. A soft bitterness remains through the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. Some warmth in the throat after swallowing, but not hot or drying. Creamy foam remained to the last sip, which was reminiscent of the last sip of a chocolate malt.

Overall: Masterfully-brewed, extremely well-balanced Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I have a feeling there's no such thing as a bad Russian River beer... Two things that bode well for this one are: 1. it's a stellar brew to begin with, and 2. it's not put through the shipping/storage punishment that its Belgian counterparts are.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 10 bottle into my trusty RR 'Tion' tulip type glass. Had this before on tap and liked it, let's see how a bottle stacks up.

A loud pop when the cork came up, Salvation comes in the glass a burnt redddish dark copper color like rust. Slow pour yielded a nice sustaining dark tan/brown head with pillow appeal. Great lace, great retention, perfect.

Smell is a heaping of candi sugar plus brown sugar and a whole lot of dark fruit. Ripe grape scents, a bit of chocolate, plum, and some Belgian yeast like baked bread. A nice malting thats different than the usual caramel.

This is str8 up BSDA, it pulls no bells and whistles, what you taste is what you get. Belgian to the core, candi suga and brown sugar galore. Dark fruit melds with plum flavor and ripe grape. A hit of chocolate in the middle with some warming alcohol, yet not hot on the end. The yeast works it's magic throughout.

Feel is restrained, at 9%, i thought this would be a hot monster, yet the heat is tamed and muted. I drank a bottle when this batch 1st hit shelves and it was noticable, funny what a few short months can do. The body is a small step above medium and it's carbed up perfect enough to keep a head, yet not bite the mouth. A small twang towards the back in true RR fashion.

Overall, Vinnie does not make a bad beer, while some may be better than others, they are all to style and fit perfectly. Salvation is no different, it sets out what it wants to do, and that is be a BSDA. I need to track down a bottle or two more for a two year nap in the basement because this will do wonders with some time, like most RR bottles. I just need more restraint so I don't open it up, this is too good.

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Photo of 0tt0
4.73/5  rDev +15.6%
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!

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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

quarterly tasting party feb 21/07 with northyorksammy, Derek, crwills, biegaman and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer. northyorksammy contributed this one, so thanks to sammy!

corked and caged 750ml bottle, batch 002.

pours very dark amber with a hint of red. big dense tan head that drops slowly and leaves tons of lace.

aroma is great. deep and roasty. bit of malt vinegar. very light funk. alcohol. bit of lemon sourness. very wine-like.

taste is awesome, and i liked it more with every taste. much more funk in the taste than in the aroma. barnyard horse blanket. really feels funky in the mouthfeel as much as the taste. lots of lemon. malt vinegar. bread and biscuit malt. some alcohol. moderate bitterness. bit of sweetness. caramel. bit of vanilla.

mouthfeel is good. above average carboation works well. fairly light bodied.

drinkability is great. very deep and interesting beer. my favourite of the night. really good and a beer i look forward to trying again.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of pat61
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%

Very winey nose with some tartness and fruit.
Pours opaque brown with a 1” off-white foam cap that quickly dissipates to a thin film.
Exceptionally creamy, fruity, malty palate that leads to a mild hop bitterness on the finish. A light tart touch suggestive of tart cherries balances the rich malt. Very complex yet well balanced between the malt, hop and tart.
Very fine soft carbonation and big flavors hide the alcohol very well.

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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 1,205 ratings.
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