Salvation | Russian River Brewing Company

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1,257 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,257 |  Reviews: 476
Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Peachy orange with some white head.Fruity yeasty aroma. Medium bodied, with good significant carbonation, and sour finish. After several samples, the sourness is comfortably contained in malt. Thanks to Nochum for bringing in.
Another bottle a year later and more mellow. with a big soapy white head and lots of lace.Winey.
A year later bottle just as good, more yeast in aroma and taste. Thanks Crushinat0r for that one.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: two finger frothy head with excellent retention and nice lacing on a deep mahogany brown body. Beauitful beer.

S: chocolate, raisins, caramel, toffee and light strawberry.

T: palate follows the nose nicely, with sour dark fruit nicely integrated into a chocolate malt base with toffee and slight wood notes. Belgian yeast throughout.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: another nice beer from RR. The Belgian character is excellent and the malt base and dark fruits are well integrated.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

more affordable than some of the othe beers in this series, unless i got lucky. paid just under 7 bucks for a 12.7oz. pours dark brown, thin looking, with a big bubble white head on top with pretty good retention. the nose is like coffee cake or fruit bread or something. lots of interestign spice and fruit from the yeast, which seems to be the dominant smell, in front of a nice chocolatey malt body. the flavor is equally yeast forward, not quite as spicy as the nose, but there is a lot going on here. also quite a bit of sweetness from the malts, roasty and dark, molasses, booze. the mouthfeel is lovely. very active carbonation makes it feel lighter than it is, and the fuller body does not prevent drinkability. i also love the aftertaste on this. overall another real solid russian river brew, but not my favorite from this line.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky dirty iced tea color with a 2 inch light tan head that fades to a small cap. Decent rings of lace that drizzle back down into the rest of the beer over time. Smells of dark fruits, spices, Belgian-type yeast, and oddly enough - rubber. The rubber scent I am getting is off-putting and detracts from the overall smell of the beer. Taste is of sweet dark fruits (plums/raisins), spices, and the typical Belgian yeast. Strong carbonation on the beer with a feel of thousands of tiny bubbles washing around in the mouth. A little bit of alcohol warming in the throat. Overall, this is a good beer but nothing too great in my opinion. I am glad I got to try this one as this is the first time I have seen this one in bottles in my area.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Knapp85
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's Black Friday event. This poured out as a pretty nice looking dark reddish brown color with a thin white head on top. The smell of the beer wasn't funky at all which I was really happy about. The taste of the beer had some really nice dark fruity flavors with some vanilla in the mix. The flavors that this brew has are rather impressive. The mouthfeel of the beer is pretty thin a but not watered down at all. Overall this brew is great I think. One of the best from Russian River I think.

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of metter98
3.84/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is very dark brown in color. It poured with a half finger high beige colored head that died down and consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of dark malts and Belgian yeast in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of dark fruits (such as prunes and plums), dark malts and Belgian yeast. The yeast is more promint than the fruits. Slight hints of spices also become detectable in the finish as the beer warms up. No sweetness is detectable, except for some faint hints in the initial taste.
M: It feels medium-bodied and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has a nice mix of dark fruits and yeasty flavors. No traces of alcohol are detectable.

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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.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a three finger head of beige colour, fair cream, good thickness, and good retention. Colour is a very dark amber. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Yeast, nice hops, and mild cream. A mild strength aroma.

T: Biscuity yeast, some dark malts, notable spice, some caramel, and cream. A fairly simple beer, but pleasant and enjoyable. Not particularly complex or subtle, but I like it. The spice is quite nice.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Nicely thick. Good carbonation.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, yet simple. It's not Russian River's best brew, but I do like it. I might get it again on-draught, but it isn't horribly impressive.


2017.08.22: I aged a 2012 (bottled 041812) vintage of this and wanted to write some thoughts on how it is with 5 years of age.

Served cold into a tulip and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

Strong aroma of dark fruit - fig, plum, raisin, date, prune...even grape - immediately signals a fruity and sweet yet dry beer. Dark malts. Belgian saccharomyces yeast. Aromatic intensity is above average, but it's a subdued aroma overall - not reticent, just teasing.

TASTE: All of the dark fruit and caramelization promised by the aroma is present in the taste, but I also get black strap molasses and candi sugar. It's too sweet overall for a Belgian dark ale, but I don't dislike it. Still, I thought it was better fresh...age doesn't seem to have done it any favours.

TEXTURE: Dragging, dry, rough/coarse, unrefreshing, medium to full-bodied, and overcarbonated (even after 5 years of cellar aging).

OVERALL: A competent expression of a Belgian dark ale that fails to age as gracefully as Chimay Blue or the like. Easily one of the best American attempts at the style I've tried, but compared to world-class traditional Belgian expressions of the style - with all due respect to Russian River - this ain't dick.


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Photo of oline73
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany with a finger of off white head and great retention.

Smell: Sweet chocolate and raisins with some brown sugar. I'm getting some caramel with yeast spice and mild alcohol.

Taste: Not quite as good as the smell, malty but not too sweet. Some yeast spice with a slight bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with carbonation that is a bit more aggressive than I would have wanted for this beer. The finish is dry.

Overall: This is a fantastic smelling beer. I felt like the flavor lost some of the complexity that was showing up in the smell. Good and I would have another but not spend a ton of time searching it out.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -2.2%

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.

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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 Phyl21ca
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a slightly hazy but opaque dark amber in color with some light orange, ruby red, and amber highlights as well as a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall dense foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a couple of small patches that are slightly thicker and a thin ring at the edges of the glass.

S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits and dark malts - plum, raisin, and date. Light notes of roasted malts, candi sugar, and Belgian yeast.

T: Moderate flavors of sweet dark malts with some dark fruit notes (raisins and dates) and light to moderate amounts of candi sugar. Light to moderate amounts of alcohol are present in the aroma and there is very little bitterness. The sweetness fades as you drink it with some Belgian yeast and light amounts of spices.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy.

O: This is an interesting beer but not one of the best examples for the style in my opinion. I was hoping for a little more sourness in this brew but it did not come through for me in this one. Not the easiest to drink, more of a slow sipping beer.

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

Poured into Darkness snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Amazing retention. Very nice lace. Color is a dark cherry hued bark brown.

Aroma: A lot of wild yeast, chocolate, banana, clove. Very funky, but sweet.

Taste: Wow, the yest in this beer is crazy. Reminds me a lot of a brett beer. Chocolate, cocoa, bananas, and cloves. Very unique.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Wow, it is smooth. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with some funk and sticky aftertaste.

Overall, a really nice beer. A little too much funk for me, but so smooth and I really like this part of the beer.

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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 1,257 ratings