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 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 Flounder57
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

600th review. 375ml was poured into a tulip. Batch 10 and aged for almost 2 years.

Appearance: This beer poured a two finger off white head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark amber brown color with no clarity, but bubbles can be seen coming up the side of the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Spicy yeast, caramel and bready malts, raisins, figs, toffee, and boozy alcohol.

Taste: Effin delicious. Dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and bready malts, spicy yeast, and warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little dry, warm alcohol, medium bodied, and medium to high carbonation.

Overall: One of the best. Happy to have made this my 600th review. Wish I had more. Might have to grab 2 next time.

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

375ml c&c bottled 4/18/2012, poured into a Russian River -tion stemmed glass and enjoyed today, 7/30/2013.

This beer pours a dark, hazy mahogany brown with a fluffy off-white head that requires patience in the pour. It is definitely a very bubbly beer with a thick film and collar once the head settles down. The lacing is definitely there in a light form (e.g. bubbles sticking to the sides).

The smell gives me a nice sweet dark fruit scent- faint cherries, blackberries, raisins. A bit of that particular fig flavour too.. very enjoyable to smell. There is a sweet toffee and brown sugar malt sweetness on top as well. A bit of alcohol heat too.

As I drink this beer, I'm getting a good bit of figs and raisins along with a brown sugar sweetness. Faint hint of cherry tartness in the background. The alcohol is mildly evident here and warms me up as it finishes. There is a nice spiciness on the back end, the Belgian yeasty type with cloves. The finish is warming and not dry at all. The body is medium, with very strong carbonation that makes this a refreshing yet warming beer to drink.

Enjoyable beer from Russian River. I liked this one better than NG's 20th Anniversary Ale, for instance. In terms of BSDAs, this is probably one of the better ones I've had. Highly recommend trying if you get the chance.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12.68 oz. bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. Liquid comes out a nice dark brown color. When held up to the light, it's more of a cola brown color with lighter highlights. Small tan head that goes away fairly quickly. Ring around the edge of the glass for a few minutes, but that goes away a bit as well. Not too much in the way of lacing.

Smell is good, probably the best part about the beer. Lots of dark fruits as well as a mix of tropical fruits. All of the fruity aromas are overly ripe and past their prime. Everything is slightly funky but not over bearing. Its all good, but not too strong.

Didn't care for the taste at first but it grew on me, gotta let it warm up. Lots of dark fruits again figs, both sweet and tart apples, a bit nutty as well. There's a nice sweetness to it as well at the end. A lot going on and pretty well balanced.

Mouthfeel is good, full bodied. Nice carbonation level, a little rough and earthy. The flavors overall mesh well together, a nice dry finish. Pretty drinkable, a nice sipper. Good beer from Russian River, thanks for the sweet extra Geoff.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.72/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a huge pillowy head and lots of retention.

Smell is figgy, maybe a bit of banana and gum. Pretty malty.

Taste is sharp and bitter off the front. Figs and dark fruit come to the middle. Sourness and coffee come through on the back.

Bit rough as far as drinkability, full bodied.

Pretty good beer.

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Photo of BobZ
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375cl bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown with a nice 2" head that recedes to a healthy cap.

Smell: Lot of dark fruit (mostly raisin and plumb) with a hint of molasses.

Taste: All of the proper components of a true Belgian strong dark ale. Dark fruit (again mostly raisin with some plumb) sweetness with an almost almond-like nutty flavor throughout. Depth of flavor without every becoming overly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth on the palate with a very nice clean finish.

Overall: The single best BSDA made in North America, delicious. If you like the style this one is a must try.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.16/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 375ml C&C bottle from Batch 11. Around 50 degrees.

Appearance- Dark, hazy greyish/brown with two fingers of off-white head that left gorgeous lacing.

Smell- Sweet, boozy raisins, candy sugar, dark caramel malts, prunes, bready yeast. Very much quad-like.

Taste- Raisins, pipe tobacco, plums, earthy/bready yeast. No real booze presence. Mildly sweet, not as much as it smelled.

Mouthfeel- Rather heavily caarbonated. On the thiner side. No mouth coating.

Overall- Another winner from Russian River. Haven't had a bad beer by them yet!

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Photo of kevanb
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, batch 011, poured into a Russian River "Tion" stemmed glass.

The beer pours a deep burgundy color, touches of garnet and amber with a fluffy 2 fingers of off white head that has very good retention and leaves just a spot or so of lace behind. The aroma is fairly tame, dark pitted fruit, raisin, clovey yeast with some tannins and tobacco with some pepper on the finish, alcohol is masked nicely. Lots of plum and raisin on the tongue, backing dark grainy malt and cracked peppercorn with a bit of chocolate and leather at the finish. The body is nice, rich yet silky with a moderate level of carbonation that is just lively enough to dance on the tongue and it finishes with a nice smooth creaminess and warms slightly as it goes down.

Verdict: A nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale from Russian River that vastly improves as it warms. It does lack the deep complexity from a more authentic Belgian Dark, but this is one of the premier examples made domestically and a worthy brew for any Belgian lover.

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Photo of mxchap
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Overall [4.25]: Cohesive and delicious. This beer doesn't break any barriers or feature any gimmicks; it just is. And it is great.
Look [3.75]: Deep, dark brown. Not much in the way of head with a straight down the middle pour. Minor lacing. Tight ring of bubbles around the rim.
Smell [4.25]: Follows the taste closely.
Taste [4.5]: Spice and dark fruit (plum and raisin). Malt flavor tends towards caramel (as opposed to bready or roasty). Little bit of fusel.
Feel [4.25]: Fairly acidic. Well carbonated. Slightly chewy. Goes down nice for the style and abv, maybe a little too easily.

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Photo of GuzzLah
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a dark brown with almost no head and poor retention. No lace. Light bubbles.

S - low intensity until swirled. Raisin, bready malt, chocolate malt and cherry ester.

T - is similar to the aroma. Mostly raisin and mild chocolate.

M - medium-full body. Oily. Warming, boozy finish, but not harsh.

O - a well made BDSA that is relatively conservative in flavor and aroma. Not nearly as impressive as Rochefort, etc.

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Photo of mikem0487
3.72/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

375mL bottled filled on 04/13/2012. Served into a Wicked Weed tulip glass.

A-A deep dark mahogany with a pinkies width off white head.

S-Rasberry, raisins and prunes for the estery nose. Some black peppery notes as well.

T-Dark fruits dominate the taste. Prune and raisin with a finishing spice. Some roasted/chocolate malt taste. Get some heat from the spice and the alcohol is hidden well. Dark cherry licorice is all over the palate.

M-Highly carbonated with a medium body.

O-A good beer for the style. Not my favorite however. To much licorice/prune taste that does not leave a pleasant after taste.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Cola colored body with some amber and ruby highlights. Tan head that lingers around as a layer of thin bubbles with good lacing.

S- Bready Belgian yeast, faint caramel and chocolate, raisins, slight hint of cherry, hint of pear.

T- A lot of unexpected Tripel flavors come through, with just enough darker malt flavor to let you know this is a dark ale. The darker flavors include the malt along with raisin bread, while some pear and spicy yeast flavors come through as well.

M- Medium to full bodied, but extremely drinkable. Not alcohol presence in the feel and good carbonation.

O- A very good offering, like all of the Russian River -tions. Solid and worth a try.

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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 brodericksloth
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

tasted on tap at RR and from bottle at home

thick creamy three finger head; deep brown color; good carbonation from refermentation in bottle. Nitro look

molasses with black fruit and plum scent

COFFEE with subtle chocolate, cherry and toffee. becomes figgy with time

no hop or alcohol noticed; very well balanced with enough dark fruits and all full palate secondary flavors of such complexity that you keep looking for more

Not a overly malty flavor; fruits carry it. Go ahead and pour the dregs; no yeast taste everything else covers it up

tastes a bit overcooked in the bottle; odd aftertaste; bought at RR; shouldn't be cooked. will try to age and see what happens; may mellow out

on tap a much nicer brew; not so figgy fruitcake

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a near black, deep cola brown with a light tan, 3 finger head. Phenomenal retention, leaving behind a thick layer of bubbles on the surface. Lacing is spotty, with fair stick.

Smell - Dark sugared sweetness and an equal note of sourness, like black cherry.

Taste - Follows the nose- moderate dark sugary sweetness, also touching on chocolate, coffee and toffee, mixed with a light cherry sourness. Wonderful balance, finishing a touch more sweet than bitter, and with a bit of sourness too.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with live, but fluffy carbonation, leaving a light, dry finish.

Overall - A lovely beer. Nice, complex flavor that, unlike several of it's Dark Belgian counterparts, doesn't fall victim to an oversaturation of sugary sweetness. Great balance. This is one I'll definitely have to revisit when I make it up to the RR pub.

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Photo of dwagner003
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is dark. Like, stout dark. It has an incredibly tight head that could leave a foam mustache. Not my favorite look, but impressive for the style.

Deep roasted malt smell, with a subtle sweetness. Almost has a little bit of a spicy caramel aroma.

The taste is of dark sweet fruits, with a slight coffee, boozy finish. The flavor hangs on your palate and gets sweeter as it subsides. It's heavy. Drinking more than 2 of these could be tough.

The mouthfeel is great. Slight carbonation, with a nice, smooth texture.

Overall, excellent beer. Perfect balance of sweet and roasted. Huge fan.

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Photo of garuda
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nearly black body, thick tan head has good retention and lacing.

S/T - Candied dark fruits, light roast, dark chocolate powder. Subtle spice.

M - Medium body, high, yet delicate carbonation level. Mostly smooth, with a bit of boozy heat.

O - I feel like this is a very good representation of the style with good depth of flavor. However, style is just not for me.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant red colour, hints of floaties and haze. Head is beautifully dense, foamy and nicely packed with great retention. Specks of lace left around the glass; good.

Smells quite pleasant, but a little subdued. Malty, with some peppery spice, toffee, bourbon and a slight acetyldehyde maybe. But quite sweet, yeah, hint of cinnamon, which I could use more of. What's there is nice.

Taste is quite sweet mostly, with toffee and caramel malt, a touch of tartness - just a hint - that turns it slightly fruity on the mid, then finish is a little bit toasty, and still sweet, with characters of coconut, vanilla and crême brulée, but also a hint of burntness late, like overcooked toffee. Slightly nutty, yeah, it's a mélange of flavours I like, but it doesn't quite reach the heights of sweetness, roastiness or anything, and so it seems a little directionless in some ways.

Decent body, bit of foamy texture to it, slight boozey sharpness on the back. Yeah, alright.

Quite a subtle brew in some ways, and well balanced. Yeah, everything gets a look-in here, and it's very nicely crafted. Doesn't really sing to me, and yet I feel like there's a lot of love in this beer.

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Photo of deebo
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery this beer is served in a goblet with a thin skimmed layer of tan head. Clear and garnet. Aromas of rich toasted malt and hints of estery banana belgian yeast. Taste is decidedly Belgian. Rich malt backbone with a sturdy enough yeast character to carry the flavors thru. The malt is s bit heavy on the dark barley malt which has plenty of roast and slight chocolate flavors. Smooth in body with the alcohol well hidden into the finish of this brew. A nice beer. Better than many of RR other ventures into the world of yeasty Belgian beers this beer has some character and decently complex flavors.

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Photo of TotallyHosed
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Stogies.

Large tan foam sits atop a very dark red color. The carbonation is evident in the appearance despite the nearly opaque brew. There's lots of lacing around the glass.

The nose is largely sweet dark fruits, such as raisins and figs, when the head is dominant. As the head dissipates to a veil, there is much more of a toasted grain aroma mingling with the dark fruits.

The flavor begins with a typical Belgian yeast flavor found in strong ales and dubbels. In the middle is a bit of an alcohol burn that does not last more than a few seconds. Finally, the flavor ends with a combination of toasted grains and slightly sweet figs.

The feel is right in the middle and does coat the mouth. There's just a little bit of tingling from the carbonation.

Overall, this is a solid example of the style. What I enjoy the most about this brew is that it has better than average balance. For example, the Belgian yeast does not overpower. It's great to be able to taste the malt backbone. My only critique is that I would like the alcohol to be better hidden. At the same time, it's not as off-putting as I have experienced from other Belgian Strong brews.

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Photo of Lucho
3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served into RR tulip

Appearance: dark but translucent when held to light

Smell: some dark fruits but mostly malts and Belgian style yeasts

Taste: similar to the nose with sweet malts with a good amount of carbonation and medium bodied mouthfeel. There are some fruits, maybe figs or dates/grapes.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall: A good beer for the style. not my usual but a good all around beer.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In a trade from a very generous trader. Batch 11 printed on the corked and caged bottle. Poured 1/25/13. Dark brown with very little light coming through. Very very creamy kahki colored head. Aroma of raisins, cherries, and possibly a hint of smoke. Belgian yeast comes through and this gives of fruit qualities of a dubbel or quad. Some prickle up front from the carbonation and spice as a blast of fruit heads down your throat. Plums and berries all over. Very smooth. Finishes with a burst of unexpected chocolate and a lingering nuttiness. Chocolate really starts coming out with some more sips. Pretty thick mouthfeel, bigger than a porter but less than an impy. So creamy. I liked this!

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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 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 brewskifan55
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Thanks, cvm4!

A: Dark brown with a half finger tan head that dissipates pretty fast. Frothy lacing.

S: Dark fruits, particularly raisins, dates, plums. Chocolate. Sweet. Licorice.

T: Follows nose. Smooth. robust. Spices like cinnamon come through. A great chocolate finish.

M: Medium with frothy carbonation.

O: A superb BSDA. One that begs to be sipped and enjoyed. Could enjoy another one soon.

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