Salvation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,237 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 1,237 |  Reviews: 474
Photo of axeman9182
4.54/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375mL bottle of batch 010 (bottled in February of this year) from FunkyMacGroovin. This one was allowed to warm a little bit before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Salvation pours a rich, deep plum color, with some very attractive cherry highlights shining through and tracing the outer edge of the glass. There's a voluminous, dirty ivory foam crown topping the beer. It gets up to about 4 fingers in height before very slowly creeping down the glass. Lacing is very spotty though. The nose is pungent as all hell, and is everything I'd want in a BSDA. The dark fruitiness is what shows up first, figs and plums and a little bit of bruised banana abound. A solid clove spiciness comes in to act as a counterpart, and I can't imagine a better balance between the two. The flavor brings more of the same, though everything doesn't quite pop as much as in the aroma. The body is picture perfect, remarkably creamy for what really is a dry beer. The carbonation isn't quite expansive and active enough to match with the best Belgian style brews though. Despite one or two minor missteps, Salvation is one of the absolute best dubbels/BSDAs/quads I've ever had. I was quite shocked to see it's 9%ABV, as it drinks a bit smoother than that. I'll definitely be seeking out more of this.

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Photo of boomer31
3.84/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch 10. Huge thanks for the extra Beerdy!

A - Huge pop, no spillage though. Pours a deep brown, transparent with an off white head. Huge head that sticks to the glass and remains about and inch thick. TIght head, quite beautiful.

S - Nice spicy nose, dark fruit and very yeasty. The spice really sticks out. Bready, yeasty and intruiging.

T - Taste up front is spice and fig with molasses and yeast in the back. Very interesting taste, a nice dark belgian ale.

M - Rich and full bodied. Highly carbonated. A bit sweet overall and very yeast heavy.

O - A nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale, interesting flavors, rather complex. Nice

I'm happy to have tried this, especially as an extra!

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

A fountain of foam as soon as the cork is removed.

Dark chestnut body with a light tan head.

Dark stone fruits, spices, and brown sugar on the nose.

Brown sugar, dark cherry, nutty barley, plumb, and a spicy, yeasty finish. Sweetness is their, but its not cloying. More balanced than other BSDAs.

Medium to full body with a creamy feel.

Salvation is further proof that Russian River can make good beer that is neither sour nor hoopy. If you hadn't seen the bottle, you might have thought this was from a traditional Belgian abbey.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy reddish brown with a long lasting whitish head. Little lacing.

S - Sweet caramelly malts with dark fruity aromas, similar to prunes and raisins. Big estery profile.

F/M - Rich, sweet malts, light caramel and dark stone fruit flavors. Again, the ester profile is dominant. Bready and lightly toasty malts. Medium-low bitterness helps to dry out the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Ok, but a little too sweet, almost on the verge of being cloying. One glass was enough.

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Photo of bamadog
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to beerman207 for bringing this one back from a recent trip to Seattle. Review is from notes and poured from the bottle (Batch 10) to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a pretty mahogany brown with some nice ruby highlights to it; starts with a massive 4 finger, light tan head with massive retention that looks rocky as it slowly dwindles down to a thick, 1/4 finger cap that lasts throughout the drink; body is dark, but very clear and it shows moderately strong carbonation bubbling up; bit patches of pillowy lacing are left behind

Smell: Sweet and dark Belgian candi sugars; some dark spiciness as well; definite presence of alcohol; bit of a dank, musty basement smell; despite being good, the nose isn't as robust as I was hoping from this one -- I typically get a really good sense for the taste of the beer form the smell and this one doesn't give me too much so I feel like I'm taking my first sip with a big question mark in my mind.

Taste: Wow -- while the nose doesn't give away much IMHO, but the taste brings quite a big blast of flavors; lots of big sweet caramel/butterscotch maltiness with dark ripe fruits (figs, raisins, perhaps even some dark cherries) with the standard Belgian spiciness (cardamom, cloves); definite presence of alcohol in this one, and it seems bigger than even the 9% that it clocks in at.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight, and the carbonation is strong, but it seems even stronger when it's mixed in with that big and warming ABV that leaves the whole mouth tingling; a thin, dry stickiness all over the roof of the mouth; the belly is left exceptionally warm.

Overall: Most definitely a sipper and a beer that would be better in the winter as opposed to the warmer humid night (but that's my fault, not the beer's); great flavors and a big warming presence of alcohol, this would make for a great after dinner treat, or split it with a friend for a nice night cap. While I'm definitely enjoying it, this one would have be had in strict moderation due to the warmth and ABV. Nice offering from Russian River, as I've come to expect from them.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.87/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Should have this on tap at the brewery but bought a bottle instead and here goes....Pours a dirty brown with a nice off-white foamy head. Fruity aroma with apples, pears, bananas, figs, slight coffee and slight leather....and a whiff of chocolate. The taste is way too carbonated with bubbles taking over the entire sip but after the bubbles die down there is a dark fruit taste with a tobacco-like swallow and almost a cigarette taste. Mouthfeel is lower as too much is going on to really enjoy the drink as much as possible. Overall I wasn't too impressed with this effort. Too much carbonation was happening to enjoy the experience. I will definitely try at the source and see if this is a bottle issue. Worthy but just a little disappointed.

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Photo of riored4v
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 5/6/11

Poured in to a tulip. 4 finger head lead me to believe it might be a bit over-carbed. Off-white head. Dark brown body. Slightly opaque. Nice lacing.

Smell had sweet caramel, brown sugar and molasses. Mild fruity aroma. Slightly earthy and spicey.

Taste had good sweetness. Earthy hoppiness with a mild finishing bitterness. Molasses and caramel present. Slight roasty flavor as well. Notes of clove and a light fruitiness. Belgian yeastiness as noticeable as well.

Mouthfeel had medium body, medium/high carb and a nice dryness.

Overall it had good drinkability. No signs of ABV.

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Photo of CruisaC
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 10, courtesy of LesleyH via the nOOb BIF 4---thanks again

pours a dark brown, initially appearing opaque but some cranberry highlights visible when held up to the light. Several inches of head, so much so that I've got to chill a minute to fill my glass up.

smell is a little disappointing, not much there...some roasted malts with a hint of yeast.

Slightly sweet, but that's not the dominating flavor. Some raisins, with some yeast. Finishes with a bit of booze as well

A little thin on the mouth, but finishes nice enough.

This is my second Salvation in about a month or so. Overall a quality beer but I have other belgians I'd go to first, as well as other RR offerings.

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Photo of oregone
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown with solid carbonation and persitent thick head. Ringing the glass with continual bubbles.
S: Dark chocolate and anise/licorice dominant with chocolate/coccoa taking the lead as it warms. Some belgian yeast notes involved.
T: Same as aroma. Yeast flavors come out here more pronounced though with some Bubblegum (mild) and fruit (banana) playing very subtly in the mix.
M: Worst point here. With the flavor character I would like to see a slightly lower level of carb. Very spritzy, and while it's a great mouthfeel, I think it slightly detracts from the appreciation of the dominant flavors. Nothing wrong here, and very good though.
O: Excellent. Highly recommended. The sum is certainly greater than the parts and I wish that I had more than one more bottle. Could drink a couple slowly consumed bottles happily over the course of an evening.

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

Batch 10
poured into Bruery tulip

Color: A dark brownish raisin color. The pour allows for an of white head to form of about two fingers. A good amount of lacing is left on the glass.

Nose: Lot's of earth tones. Mild woodiness with hints of tobacco and raisins. Bitter hints of molasses and dried fruit are present.

Palate: Feels great on the mouth. the carbonation is maybe a bit much but the beer is very drinkable. The tongue is coated with layers of tobacco and raisins. The malt body becomes evident at this point and it provided a gentle roastiness. A full bodied beer.

Finish: Solid and complex. An array of flavors and texture. Another solid offering from Vinne at Russian River.

Rating: 94 out of 100

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

375ml bottle from batch 010, split three ways into a 7oz glass. Huge thanks to nicks6217 for another long time want!

Pouring a deep mahogany colour, with a white to slight beige head of foam that initially foams right up before settling at a normal level.

The smell is perhaps a little understated, with raisins being the dominant aroma along with a little spice.

The taste is of dark plums just a touch, moreso raisins and a touch of dark spice, but in a balanced manner as i've found with all of their ales that i've come across.

Again the alcohol is so well hidden, it is only after finishing that you realise that you've drunk something about twice the strenght of a "standard" brew. Lovely soft mouthfeel and again so well balanced.

Overall another nice ale from Russian River, well balanced, defined and consistent throughout.

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Photo of bobhits
2.48/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Holy Christ, a reasonable pour and my glass is nothing but head, barely even half an oz of beer at the bottom, and a glass of head. Deep dark amber (nearly black) in color that’s rather opaque…nearly impossible to see through to be honest. Though light shines through to give the deep amber color.

Dark spiced hef? Bananas, cloves, slight candied malt, with some slight molasses or just enough sweetness to avoid any sour or crisp notes often associated with a hef.

The only word I have to describe this beer is INTENSE. Caps are very much needed here. I would go back and age this if I could do it again, 3-4 years might mellow this. This beer brings out the intense flavors of an Eisen bock with the spices of a Belgian beer. Certainly has the bananas and cloves from the nose, but intense hops and a HUGE rum like alcohol flavor at the end.

Too thick, too alcoholic, too carbonated….I can’t think of anything good to say here.

9% abv shouldn’t be this harsh, intense, or any of this. If Russian Rivers wants me to wait a few years to drink this they should put a best after date to let me know not to open it. I think age will help this beer but this beer needs a LOT of help.

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Photo of Blanco
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a really dark color, especially for a BSDA. Near black, but with a bluish hue. Very light tan head that pours strong. fresh belgian spices in the smell. hints of fruit and cinnamon in the smell. taste is different than most BSDAs. a little bit of toffee. spicier than most and a little lighter, especially in the mouthfeel. overall, not my favorite BSDA. I've grown accustomed to the similarity in yeast strains of the most popular brands and this differs significantly to the point of being too "different." I get the same feel, but it's not the same.

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Photo of megahurts4
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Russian River Salvation

Appearance: light brown, large head, and some good lacing.

Smell: malty grain.

Taste: malty grain and a faint caramel.

Mouthfeel: medium and light.

This is a good brew. It is smooth and flavorful without being very powerful.

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Photo of bs870621345
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 10.

Pours a deep brown that seems pretty clear. Has a huge off white/tan head. Nice lacing, but the head is just really crazy.

Smell is fruity like plums, raisons, cherries, roast, alcohol, caramel, and bread.

Taste is fruity all the way through, caramel and bread in the front, alcohol begins to show its face, finishes with a strong fruit, caramel, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thick and nicely carbonated. Too carbonated for my tastes but definitely accecptable.

Overall its a good BSDA. Going to age a few to see what this one can do.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky brown-burgundy with little light showing through. Nice head retention.

S - Tart fruit rind, yeast, caramel, sweet sugars.

T - Bread soaked with spiced alcohol, tangy fruit acidity, warm alcohol, dark wheat, bitter fruit skin.

M - Crisp and light, this one has bubbling carbonation once in the mouth.

O - Nice Belgian-style, maybe could have used darker flavors and stronger profile.

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

375 ml bottle. Batch 10. Pours a dark brown with a small very light tan head that sticks around for a while and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma is big dark fruit with raisin and plum, spicy Belgian yeast, candi sugar, and a breadiness. The initial taste has a sweetness with some candi sugar then goes into some raisin and plum. The finish has a breadiness with some spicy yeast. Medium body. Low carbonation.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Rich chestnut colored beer with reddish highlights. Huge offwhite head that had gret retention and faded to a substantial cap. Sides of the glass left clean.

S - Sugar and candy smells with a lot of banana and a bit of clove. Some molasses and dark fruit.

T - Taste is pretty boring, slightly sterile with some candy sugar that manages not to get too sweet, a little yeast, molasses, and caramel. Tastes somewhat empty and doesn't finish all that well.

M - Active carbonation, medium bodied, bit of a dry finish.

O - Beer is better than average, but I'm not a huge fan. At 9% it's decently drinkable, but this is probably one of my least favorite Russian River offerings.

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Photo of deapokid
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Visually, this is a dark, brown liquid with reddish hues when tilted into the light. Carbonation is uber bubbly with lacing that fades fast and a pencil thin layer of foam. This is a rather faithful recreation of a Belgian brown.

Aroma is sweet, heightened by dark fruit (some cherry and plum), cinnamon and a Brandy-esque alcoholic burn. It's a bit dry and the sugary scents are quite subtle.

Flavor is slightly bitter with a roasted nut and basement musk pairing in the conclusion. Characteristics include an apple's tartness, nutmeg, a little licorice and some dark chocolate. Luckily, the sugary notes are light, making it drinkable and not a cavity waiting to happen.

The mouth is smooth upfront, followed by a sizzle of carbonation and a resonating dryness. It's restrained for the style and I feel like it's tasty and original enough to go head to head with any of Belgian's top ales.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Extremly aggressive tan head pours very soapy and builds quickly. Several pours to get this one in a NB Globe. Brew is deep blood red, with brown and purple hues. Very little foam stick to the side of glass.

S - Scents of cinnamon, honey, raisin, slight pine, and slight lemon. Scent is quite pleasant.

T - Tasty! Lots of complex flavors. Figs? or raisins for sure! Slight oak taste which brings out some vanilla. Very slight brun from the ABV heat. For the most part is hidden very well.

M - Very smooth and delicious. Medium bodied and slightly under carbonated. Very Wet feeling. No bitterness or dryness.

O - Quite a good brew! I'll be snagging some more of these.... I believe age will do this brew very well; only time will tell.


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

Poured a rich, dark brown into a tulip with two fingers of light khaki head. Aroma of rich caramel, Belgian spice, and fig.

High carbonation and a light, dry mouthfeel. Strong biscuity caramel up front followed by gentle spice and dark fruit with a lingering cinnamon/nutmeg finish.

Really balanced with almost no discernable boozy character. Sweet (but not too sweet), easy-drinking, and delicious!

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Photo of LiquidBread219
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark, almost black; rusty-copper in the light. About a finger of cream-colored head that dissipates into a ring around the glass. Lacing doesn't retain, but it slowly creeps downs the sides.

S - lots of malt, dry belgian yeast, bread, and a bit of hops in the backend. Some grapes, figs, and other dark fruits are present, as well.

T - lots of malt, bready belgian yeast, dark fruits, a vinous grape-like flavor, and lots of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), finishing rather dry.

M - pretty carbonated and full-bodied.

D - extremely drinkable: very smooth, not too sweet, not too bready, not too alcoholic. Not the best BSDA I've had, but pretty exceptional and well-balanced.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one has been sitting around in the fridge for a couple months waiting for me to try it, so last night was the night as I was in the mood for something different. Poured a very deep dark and hazy brown with a huge tan head of gooey and foamy lace. Lots of visible carbonation throughout the session. A nice concentric ring of side lace was left throughout and some sediment was visible. The smell was interesting, lots of yeast and spice, but for some reason seemed muted, and at the same time kind of sweet. The taste was very full and robust. Lots of flavors with hints at dark fruits and a nice rounded earthy back. There was a slight tart like twang in the bite and a short finish that I thought could have been more drawn out.

Overall this was an odd one, there was nothing really bad at all about it, but it just did not really stand out to me as anything fantastic other the very smooth nature of it. Almost silk like it was solo smooth. This was definitely a nice triple, but to be honest I have had better. Thats ok though it is still a very good beer and something I would say you should definitely try if given the chance.

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

375 ml corked bottle served slightly chilled into a Watou goblet.

Salvation is a dark redish brown color with good clarity seen on the pour. It develops a nice thick crown of head that settles very slowly. Nice lacing left behind.

The aroma is very pleasant and reminds me why I love this style. Rich and complex with dark fruits and warming spices.

The flavor is also really enjoyable. Sweet up front turning slightly roasty in the middle and finishing dry. The fruit from the aroma comes through here too. Raisins and figs combined with clove.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Nicely balanced and the alcohol is well hidden.

Overall an excellent version of the style. It's a little expensive at $6.99 but worth a try if you enjoy the style.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear brown color, ruby in strong light. Poured a 3 finger coarse dark tan head that dissipated evenly to a skim. Laced in sticky spots.

S: Dark fruit; prune and dates. Spicy and boozy.

T: Like the nose. A molasses and caramel sweetness transitions to a dry and warming finish. Pretty simple and straightforward.

M: Medium-to-full body. Moderate carbonation. Sweet dry and warm was comforting on the palate (though ABV was a little harsh).

O: ABV a little daunting. Solid strong dark; flavorful, nice balance of malt and yeast characters.

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Salvation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.09 out of 5 based on 1,237 ratings.
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