Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale (Winter Migration) 2010-2011 - Evolution Craft Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale (Winter Migration) 2010-2011Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale (Winter Migration) 2010-2011

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

63 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.68%
Wants: 20
Gots: 25 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: lackenhauser on 01-30-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by cdmillard:
Photo of cdmillard
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle number 115 of 1400

A - Pours very dark, almost black with a thick dark head that quickly evaporates to nothing

S - Dark fruits and chocolate, with pronounced bourbon and alcohol

T - Great taste, with vanillas up front, quickly replaced by bourbon and alcohol. This is my first bourbon barrel Dark, and I love the flavors. Just enough bourbon to not overpower.

M - Light carbonation to almost nonexistent. Someone mentioned oily earlier, and I can see that.

O - Glad I tripped over this one and decided to give it a try. Wish they has 2 bottles!

Serving type: bottle

More User Reviews:
Photo of Mertzy81
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle number 45

A - Completely black, with no head. Somewhat boring. Some bubbles form around the edge.

S - Alcohol and bourbon. Some vanilla, raisins and oak. Some chocolate as it warms, but the bourbon is plentiful. Whole lot going on here that I can't put into place.

T - Vanilla and oak forward. Boozy on the pallet, and a strong bite on the bottom of the tongue. Vanilla in the finish, with a nice burn, but not harsh. Can't get over the bourbon, simply awesome amount of flavor. Edit: 5/13/11 - Still lots of woody and barrel-y flavors. Alcohol has not gone down one bit in 3 months.

M - Lightly carbed, medium to heavy body. Almost oily, it stays in your mouth for a while, with a heavy finishing flavor. Edit: 5/13/11 - Alcohol bite is still very prevalent. Can't subdue this beast.

D - Very happy I got to try this beer. Definitely will benefit from some time, but very good in this form as well. A sipper for sure. Reasonably priced for a high quality brew at 12 a bottle.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.26/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes 2/11/11.

A: Pours dark black with not head whatsoever. A small ring of bubbles formed around the outer edge.

S: Heavy bourbon! There is some nice vanilla, oak, and a little molasses. The alcohol is a bit present as well.

T: The bourbon is in the forefront. There are a lot of nice underlying flavors though. There was some oak, vanilla, and a little coffee. There was a little bit of tobacco too. The beer really opens up as it warms. The alcohol is present and burns a little, but in a good way.

M/D: Medium to heavy bodied with low carbonation. Pretty good drinkability considering the abv and style. I think that this beer will benefit from a little age, a nice bottle to split with a friend or two and sip on for a while.

Photo of droobacca
4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: very dark almost black with little to no head

S: bourbon with a hint of vanilla (if blind folded would assume was an actual bourbon not beer)

T: vanilla leads and is followed by BOURBON and then finishes with a bite of vanilla.

M: heavy flavor, minimum and pleasent burn

D: A sipper. for a fan of bourbon this beer is sublime, enjoyed it slowly and noticed with time and warmth flavors increase. Love this beerbourbon

Photo of DBoone
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750 ml capped bottle, cool label Poured into snifter with little to no head as expected. Little to no bubbles. Dark, thin, looking.
S Bourbon, dark malts, dark fruits, maybe a little hot?
T Delicious, bourbon, oak, nice!
M Somewhat thin, but good
D Good, Hope you can find a bottle around. I will pick up at least one more for the cellar.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Winter 2012 bottling
#584 of 1400

A: stout black but with translucent dark brown edges into tulip, large dark foam head settled quickly into nothingness, leaving no trace of lace behind

S: bourbon and vanilla, dark malt and musty dark fruit

T: charred wood, molasses, bourbon, and dusky dark fruits; vanilla and wilted plum, hints of semi-sweet cocoa, faint coffee; low bitterness

M: slick and oily, medium weight, slightly sticky in the corners of the mouth, mild carbonation

O: a very smooth drinking beer, the bourbon added nice class and character without being overpowering; had many stout-like qualities - nice blend of fruit and chocolate tones.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

brown with a large two inch plus head of foamy tan on top that only gradually decided to fade and nestled down into a layer of lace covering the top and the sides of the glass. The aroma was very interesting, it had a definite wine like character and the wood smell was defiantly a presence. Had a bit of a spiced note to it as well and also a bit of alcohol. The taste was very strong, with a lot of alcohol present in it. There was a very big presence of spice and oak barrel taste to it as well. A dry hop like finish tried to make itself known at the end, but never really got that far past the strong notes from the other flavors. Very nice medium to full body gave it a very sipper like quality

Photo of BZero007
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from a trade with brian 12812000, appreciate it! Was bottle number in the 300's of the 1100 bottled. Might be off a bit on the mark.

Poured a dark brown/amber hue with a nice off white head forming. The head stuck around for a bit which was enjoyable. The aroma was a bit soft and pushed the sweet malt and bourbon through. The taste of this brew was very interesting for me to say the least. The bourbon was strong there is not doubt about it, but the ale was great. Now this is were it becomes a bit weird as even though the bourbon was strong the ale was still evident and tasted great! Usually a lot of BA brews I have had you can hardly taste the brew, but this one was very evident. I am happy I was able to pick up a few bottles to cellar, as this could get even crazier.

Body carried a bit over a medium carbonation which fit the brew perfect, the body it self was not to think nor thin and added to the great brew. Glad I was able to try and grab a few extras.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.
Poured from tap into snifter. Pours a dark thick brown with a tan foamy head.
Smells of dried raisons, malty chocolate. Taste is spectacular. This is what I like in a strong ale. Oak, chocolatey, raison...slight malty backbone. What I like about this is the fact that its spectacular and still available. A lesser known brew that really shines.
This is a very good brew. Worth seeking out..I would even say essential.

Photo of oline73
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

The beer is almost black except for some red at the edges when the light hits the pour. There is a small layer of tan head. The smell is sweet and full of dark fruit and lots of vanilla. I'm also getting some roast/dark chocolate, caramel, and bourbon that burns just a little bit. The taste is sweet and just a bit hot. The strong vanilla notes show up here, and I'm really digging them. Also getting some caramel and dark fruit. The finish is slightly bitter and warm from the alcohol. This is a thick beer with smooth, tingly carbonation. The vanilla notes from the bourbon barrels were very nice. I'd be happy to have more of this one.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/20/11
*From notes

-- Thanks for sharing, Señor Siege! --

A: Rich velvety-brown to amber in color. A forceful pour yields zero head and zero lacing. Huh, that's odd.

S: It smells like a Barleywine-Stout hybrid. Really fantastic. Hints of bourbon and wood here add to what makes for a killer nose.

T: Raisinated, condensed fruit and toasty bourbon. It's at that point where the booze really starts honing in and finds balance with the body and origin of the beer. Dark cocoa and molasses round out the wonderfully complex flavor profile.

M: Really dissapointing. There's almost no carbonation to the brew, making for a signifigantly less pleasant drinking experience. As a result, the texture is a bit oily and off-putting.

O: Evolution has knocked another one out of the park with their 2010 Winter Migration. With the exception of the carbonation issue (which is not to be taken lightly), this is a massive win for one of my favorite up and comer's. I can't wait to see what they do next.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Amyliz4 for picking this up at Rick's last week. Served in a tulip.

Pours dark brown with a slight tan head that fades very quickly without leaving any lacing behind. Slight, slight collar, though that's about it. The nose brings forward quite a bit of booze (in a pleasant way) plus strong bourbon. Sweet malt, chocolate, and some vanilla come through as well. The flavor isn't quite as complex, landing mostly bourbon and some roasted malt. Touch of coffee as well. Feel is nice and heavy with a good amount of carbonation. Moderate booze, though not too much considering the ABV. Drinks pretty well. I continue to be fairly impressed by Evolution.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a flared pokal.

Big thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this bottle!

Bottle #963/1150. I missed the other seasons, but last Winter's a good enough place to start, right? This stuff pours a straight obsidian topped by a very short-lived bit of dirty tan foam. The nose comprises plenty o' bourbon, light oak, and light-ish roasted malts. The taste brings in more of the same, but with more roasted malts, some rich cocoa, some molasses, and a light twinge of coffee. Damn, this stuff is pretty tasty! The body is a solid medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a silky smooth feel. Overall, a very nice brew, one that can easily stand next to many of the higher-rated barrel-aged stouts out there.

Photo of womencantsail
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Bobby.

A: Pours a very, very dark brown color that is nearing black. There is very minimal carbonation and no head to speak of.

S: Smells almost completely like bourbon and barrels. Lots of bourbon and vanilla, quite a bit of alcohol, but there are some good dark fruit notes hiding. I get a nice cherry and prune thing going on.

T: As barrel heavy as the nose was, I think the flavor is even more so. Bourbon, alcohol/heat, wood, and vanilla. A decent enough roasted malt flavor and a noticeable astringency.

M: The body is medium with a very low level of carbonation.

D: Not bad by any means, but completely overwhelmed by the barrel.

Photo of John_M
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Max's last night. This was actually the 2011 Winter Migration version, but I can't see any reason to make a separate entry for it. Like the 2010 version, this was listed on the beer menu as a bourbon barrel aged dark ale.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is just great in this beer, as I get noticeable bourbon, dark fruits (plum and and raisans mostly) and some light vanilla, with maybe a hint of chocolate. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but I was impressed by the balance in this beer. Nothing seemed to be out of preportion, and the bourbon flavor blended well with the dark fruits, vanilla and light chocolate. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, and the beer finishes well with no heat in the finish. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell it's up there a bit.

Just an excellent beer. Evolution really seems to have a knack when it comes to making bourbon barrel based beers, and this is no exception. Really wish this beer was more available over the winter months, but was told this was one of only 4 kegs sent to Baltimore from the brewery. So my guess is that this will be my only chance to try this excellent beer (I'm sure it will be long gone the next time I'm at Max's). That's a shame.

Note: Just sampled the 2012/2013 version of this beer, and have to say I really was not all that pleased. The beer smelled and tasted like a german dark beer, with lots of licorice and burnt toast, but with an underlying booziness from the bourbon as well. In combination, it just didn't work that well for me, especially on the palate (the beer was sweet and boozy, with the intermix of vanilla, licorice and bourbon just not working for me).

Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1527th Review on BA
Bottle to Goblet
750ml

2011 Vintage
Bottle 64/900

Thanks Mdaschaf for this one.

App- A good mix of crimson and browns in the glass. Only a small 1/2 finger fast receding brown head. No cling or lace.

Smell- A whole ton of candy aromas on this one. Sweet sugars, burnt caramel, vanilla and oak. Bourbon comes last. The booze is quite prevelant and prickly.

Taste- Well isnt this like a dessert in a glass!! A whole ton of vanilla and bourbon with some slicker malts. The whole depth of flavor is tasty and has a ton of prickliness behind it. Seemingly one sided with sweetnesss but damn tasty.

Mouth- A full on medium body with a medium dense carbonation. Lots of prickly residual flavors with good Vanilla and Bourbon.

Drink- Sometimes you need a bourbon barrel 750. Tonight was that night. Semi smooth and little rich and plenty of bourbon. Hit the spot. Thanks Matt.

Photo of champ103
2.73/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A friend shared a bottle with me and some other BA's.

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black. An inky, viscous appearance. A one finger tan head forms, and recedes in a second. Not much lace is left.
S: Big boozy notes right off the bat. Charred wood, smoke. Some vanilla. Very harsh alcohol burns the nose.
T: Follows the nose. Basically just some barrel flavors. Lots of alcohol, burnt wood, charcoal, light smoke. Some vanilla sweetness. Burning alcohol all the way.
M/D: This has a lighter body than I would like. The base beer is way to thin and under carbonated for the bourbon barrel. Very hard to sip on. Burning alcohol that did not go down easy at all.

This is way to unbalanced. To much alcohol and to much barrel. I am not sure if a few years would help to mellow this out considering the thin body of the base beer. Not something I would recommend.

Photo of jwjon1
2.88/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Break out your shot glasses!

If bourbon aged in beer barrels in your thing, you might dig this brew. If you prefer your beer to taste like beer, don't even bother. First fail from Evolution I've run across, and this from my most anticipated Evo release. This beer is straight up bourbon. In the smell, in the taste, and in the burn. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I could do my first flaming shot of beer with this bourbony mess.

There is a silver lining: it's hard to find 750mL of quaff-able bourbon for under 15 bucks. Alas, Evolution to the rescue! PLUS, it would make a great gift for the alcoholic in your family who likes to disguise their liquor. Because beer can't be so bad for your liver, now can it?

Photo of stakem
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle # 465/1150 split with friends and poured into several snifters. The brew appears black with a thin tan head thats quick to receed. Some brown clarity is seen around the edges. Webby legs of lace stick to the glass and a mild froth holds around the edges.

The smell is full of barrel presence mostly coconut and vanilla sweetness with an accenting hint of caramel and cocoa. Some booze is noticed as it warms along with a mild touch of grain.

The taste is boozy but not overdone for the strength. Flavors of cocoa and roast mostly through the body with a hint of something mildly musty. Coffee, alcohol and raw oak come out more as the brew warms up.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. It displays a very nice barrel presence but the base beer is quite mild but with a boozy kick. Overall not bad and worth a try.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The first in Evolution's Migration series. Limited to 1150 bottles. Somewhat muddy at first pour. Very, very dark-ok I will call it black. Low caronation head wise but seems lively enough. Big bourbon nose right upfront. Boozy, oakey. Big bourbon flavor to begin with. Mild smokey and almost a charcoal flavor. Faint vanilla against a definate oak presence. Definately enough alcohol to be recognized. Mild roasted coffee. Some sweetness in the finish. Great mouthfeel. The booziness adds a nice, subtle burn. A great beer overall. The whole package really falls into place for me. I hate to be biased as they are my local but man this one is hit right out of the park. Great, GREAT stuff!

Photo of homebrew311
3.32/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle 963/1105

A: pours flat with black appearance, brown highlight, 0 head

S: I get some buttery notes up front followed by boozy bourbon, not getting much roast or chocolate in the nose, notes of vanilla and wood come into play as well

T: vanilla and bourbon up front, the body is kind of thin without much malt backbone, somewhat sweet

MF: thin body, low carbonation, a little tingly on the palate

O: this brew has a nice flavor and decent balance, however it is very one note. Worth a try.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My buddy from DC snagged a bottle of this for me over the holidays, so we got to crack it open. It pours a dark brown or black and is completely opaque. The brown head is fairly large and solid looking. The retention and lacing are both nice.

The aroma has a ton of bourbon and good bit of wood to it. Lots of dark malts come through as well, with some dark fruit too.

Sweet bourbon notes come through immediately, followed by a bevy of barrel characteristics. Light char, spicy oak and a little bit of both vanilla and coconut are all noticeable. The barrel doesn't necessarily overwhelm the beer, but it does provide the dominant flavors. The yeast is surprisingly active, adding some dark fruit and some spice; it almost tastes like there is a Belgian yeast thrown in here, but I think it is just a really active ale yeast. The malt is smooth and chocolatey, and rounds things out nicely in the finish. There is a little bit of heat in the back end.

There is a little bit of warmth and just the right amount of carbonation. The body is medium to a touch below.

Evolution does some great things with barrels, and I want to try everything they do. Winter Migration is no exception, with a nice blending of barrel and beer flavors.

Photo of korguy123
4.59/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Supee dark brown, boderline black. Zero head, zero lacing. Alcohol clinging to the glass.

S- Massive bourbon aroma. Molasses, chocolate, brown sugar with copious amounts of wonderful vanilla. It smells like bourbon candy.

T- Huge bourbon taste with amazing vanilla and brown sugar. Coffee and chocolate. There is a slight booziness in the end but it really adds to the experience.

M- Almost full bodied, creamy with a hint of booze.

O- Mind boggling, so glad I got to try this and even happier I saved it as long as I did.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a very dark brown almost black in color with brown highlights and had a very thin head leaving barely any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of bourbon and booze were definitely showing their face on the nose with vanilla, roasty, and mild cocoa notes. It did have some toffee and slight coffee.

T: the bourbon booze character dominated the palate alongside toffee, caramel, vanilla, cocoa accents but had some slight roastiness and a touch of brown sugar.

M: the brew was medium in body with a very low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, bourbon boozy, mild oaky and silky finish.

D: definitely was a sipper but was tastier than expected. Good lookin out torino for crackin open this brew.

Photo of russwbeck
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter 2011 Bottle #251 of 900

A: The beer pours out of the bottle a beautiful black color with about a finger of brown head. Really the ideal pour for a year old Bourbon Barrel aged beer. The retention is ok, I wish it was a bit better, and the lacing is a bit lacking.

S: Very bourbon and boozy with underlying molasses, vanilla, roast, and maybe some chocolate. The aroma seems to be dominated by the barrel, and is missing a strong base beer to give it some character.

T: The taste picks up some slack, but is still missing the flavors of a strong base beer. I'm amazed at how boozy this remains after almost a full year. Sweet, vanilla, bourbon underneath this time and not on the forefront. I'm lacking the dark fruits, molasses, chocolate, or something underneath the barrel characteristics. I very much like how mellow the barrel is, but it just isn't enough to win me over.

MF: Medium body with a lower than average carbonation. The booze gets to you after a while, warms the body, and leaves a slight aftertaste.

O: I thought this was going to be outstanding, and it was only average. Very sweet and boozy. Tasty, but just not good enough to be considered great.

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Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale (Winter Migration) 2010-2011 from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.