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RATINGS: 681   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.84/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
This Belgian style Strong Dark Ale has a tawny brown color and aromas of banana and spice that dominate the initial bouquet of the beer. Lean malt flavors blend perfectly with fruit driven characteristics created by the classic Belgian yeast which fermented this ale. The alcohol content is deceptively smooth just like its sister beer Damnation. Brewed just once a year for a release in January.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
OhioDad (2492) - Hilliard, Ohio, USA - JAN 15, 2007
750ml bottle sampled at Columbus Tasting V - Pours dark amber with a short white head. Lots of yeast, cherry, oak, and some spice in the aroma. Flavor is all of those notes as well and a touch of caramel sweetness. Palate is somewhat acidic with a pleasant dry finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
BeerVirgin72 (880) - Pickerington, Ohio, USA - JAN 15, 2007
Bottle. Light, orangish brown, small head. Sweet fruity falvor. Malty with a bitter hoppy finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
ThomasE (5174) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - JAN 15, 2007
Hazy orange colour with a small beige head. Malty, alcohol and fruity sweet aroma with a yeasty note. Malty, fruity and spicy flavor with an alcohol sweetness and a light dry finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Papsoe (25063) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - JAN 14, 2007
(Bottle 75 cl) Slightly hazy, orangey brown with a dense and lasting off-white head. Lightly tart and perfumy aroma. Medium body with complex notes of caramel and overripe fruit. Very subdued bitterness. 080107

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
diabel (1678) - Aarschot, BELGIUM - JAN 13, 2007
Bottle - thanks to Carlo for sharing
Hazy, brown body. Lightly brown head. Fruity aroma of american hops, oranges, malts, liquor, ... : complex and nicely balanced. Heavily bitter, lightly sour/sweet flavour. Initially, thereís a nice hoppy bitterness, but it develops and becomes not so complex in the end.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
JorisPPattyn (9242) - Ursel, BELGIUM - JAN 13, 2007
Red-brown, hazy beer with a completely stable, collapsing creamy yellow-brownish head. Leather, greenery, dark leaves, parsley, candied orange peel, chocolate... Can you imagine dissolving both bitter and milk chocolate in wine, then spice it with cardemom, laurel, lime blossom, brown candy sugar (muscovado?)? There is alcohol - and a lot of it - but it is so well hidden that it is no way obtrusive. Smooth, medium to well-bodied, oily even fatty. Slightly burning MF. Nice beer, hiding its strength very well. Maybe less outspoken than most RR beers. Thanks to Carlo for sharing.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
madsberg (11283) - SÝborg, DENMARK - JAN 9, 2007
Bottled. Amber coloured. Unclear. Brownish dense head. Chocolate, fruits, alcohol and spices in the aroma. Flavour is sweet and fruity. Notable alcohol and nice spices. Is quite smooth and balanced. Medium to ful bodied. Has a light bitter yeasty and acidic end. Nice. Thanks to Degarth for this.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - JAN 8, 2007
750ml bottle batch #2 Lightly clouded garnet-highlighted brown body with a lovely dense manila colored head. The aroma is interesting, spices, dark fruit, even some esthery banana. The flavor matches the uniqueness of the aroma. Sweet, very fruity. Figs really come out the more I drink it. It is quite sweet but also quite enjoyable. The palate is soft and a tad watery.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
pineypower (3005) - Ocean County, New Jersey, USA - JAN 7, 2007
Thanks to...hummm forget who sent this to me, was a while ago. Anyway it pours out a very attractive brownish color with a small white head. Aroma is complex with dark fruit and some slight yeast and alcohol. Mouthfeel is very nice . Flavor is very complex notes of cherry, plum, fig and slight cinnamon and brown sugar. Finishes with a slight alcohol bite, but not as much as would be expected for a 9% beer. Very solid, wish I could buy this stuff in NJ

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
GarrettB (1388) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 6, 2007
UPDATED: OCT 14, 2007 ďBelgian Strong AleĒ says almost nothing about what a beer is really like. It excludes the possibility of torrid hops or malts, mostly, and makes a verbal non-written pact with the drinker about some fruits that may or may not be present, but thatís sort of it. Even so, the tag Belgian Strong Ale has connotations common to most beers that fall in the category. Except Russian Riverís Salvation. Itís a different animal altogether. Its attire would have me think itís a beer, its bouquet would have me think itís a fairground, and its taste would have me think itís a faint yet sweet white wine. Whatever the correct answer may be, this has indeed brought sweet mercy to genre of drink that desperately needs to break free of enforced identities and assumed appellations. A very light but voluminous, pillow-like head creeps up the glass, colored with just a hint of pink and orange like a cloud over the horizon late in the day. As it recedes it leaves behind a rice paper thin but tough and durable lacing that keeps the glass well insulated all the way to the last drop. The beer is red like a ripe raspberry with a hint of cloudiness to keep it from being an entertaining lens for the tipsy drinker. The smell is most forward with its alcohol, but quickly atones for its abrupt callousness with a slew of delicate and sweet fragrances. Sparkling cider, Fuji apple, cranberry juice, the strange smell of cosmetics (sort of waxy), Welchís grape juice, vanilla and cotton candy all tantalize the nose in a parade of smells that are relatively rare in the world of beer. In the mouth Salvation is a little less reliable, taking on a very light and ethereal personality. Itís mostly dry tinged with sugar like a dry white wine, but tickles the tongue like a sparkling wine. Also accompanying this queer wine construction is a yeastiness that clearly belongs to beer fermentation, producing a hybrid flavor concept that combines both wine and beer. Salvation is so light that itís hard to tell whether itís good or bad, but I didnít mind it. Once the taste is firmly set in your mouth for analysis it quickly performs its soliloquy and leaves as quick as it came, vanishing and taking the entire flavor with it. No aftertaste wanders about here. The act of consumption is a signed contract, and once it has your Hancock it makes a quick escape. Taste is fleeting, so enjoy it while you can. Another strange phenomenon: the first sip is fairly substantial, but each gulp after that becomes more and more watery. Itís a cumulative effect, and by the end of the glass youíll swear youíre chugging bottled water. The only consolation is that a very welcome guest at brunches world wide, the cantaloupe, takes on an increasingly more important role as the beer is consumed. Maybe thatís the Salvation?

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