The next bottle that I shall review from Dr. Stefon’s friendship beer gift package, by Russian River Brewing Company, is a Belgian-style, strong dark ale called “Salvation”. In addition to their fine quality brews, Russian River appears to be maintaining an honorable label consistency here: Their art design and font are very similar (or identical) between the brothers and sisters for all Russian River beers containing “-ation” as a suffix. When will they come out with “Penetration”, “Fornication”, “Ejaculation, or “Masturbation”? I would purchase them all.
Salvation is dark brown with a deep ruby red hue. The aroma consists of black cherries and black pepper but it is very faint. Its khaki colored head erupts easily with a two-fingered thickness and stands defiantly without retreating into the liquid for quite some time. Have you ever looked at your timepiece out of impatience despite your cognizance of actually having nothing of an urgent nature rapidly approaching? The refusal of Salvation’s head to settle down, as if it was a room full of preschoolers with anti-ADHD medication withdrawal, elicited me to give my wrist watch a few scowls as if I could somehow speed up time using the power of my mind and a few focused glances at my wrist.
The overall flavor profiles, once the head yields to your drive to taste them, in general are a smiling reflection of the appearance: dark fermented berries, chocolate, and malt with a couple of surprises lurking within its muddy depths. Upfront there are strong elements of sherry, cola, and raisins with a dash of nutmeg. The tail end of the drink reveals a heavy dose of malt, black cherries, and a slight bitterness that should be welcome to anyone with its softness. There is a pretty, clear, gooey lacing with tiny constellations of little foam jewels.
The texture is creamy and foamy, and the liquid goes down easily. Its aftertaste consists of bitter cocoa, figs, raisins, and rye toast. But wait! There’s more! The aftertaste has an aftertaste! Isn’t that as exciting as getting a blowjob on a wooden rollercoaster? The bitterness carries through while the other profiles shed their scales and the flavor of sherry and pecans give your tongue an after-hours dance.
Salvation is complex, excellent, and unique. For me its balance was a little off during the first half of the drink. The sherry and raisin were a tad too strong at first and the overall flavor was not as intense as I expected. But my palate adjusted and the 2nd half of the bottle was much better than the first half. The flavor of booze was minute, but at 9.5% ABV I expected the overall flavor of Salvation to be slightly bolder. These complaints almost need not be mentioned because their influence on my score for this brew has about as much impact as flicking boogers at an aircraft carrier. This beer is fucking awesome, and the folks at Russian River should know that I approve.
Dr. Stefon has made my day with this selection. To my readers in California: will you please find Dr. Stefon’s wife and inform her face that it is required in Dr. Stefon’s chamber to report for ejaculation target duty… immediately? Thank you for your cooperation.
Belgian Strong Dark Ale
IBU: 25 (my best guess)