1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Menagerie #5 - Evolution Craft Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Menagerie #5Menagerie #5

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

51 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 51
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 6.86%
Wants: 54
Gots: 13 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: yourefragile on 05-11-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 51 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Bmoyer0301:
Photo of Bmoyer0301
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance:

Tonight I will be breaking out my Dogfish Head snifter which should hold most of this twenty two ounce bottle in one gentle pour. Upon pulling off the cap I was really surprised to hear a very loud and boisterous hiss coming out. I noticed the label mentions that this was re-fermented in the bottle and I must say they did a nice job of achieving this aspect. On the pour I went straight on and slow watching the evil black looking sauce just flop right out of the bottle and coat my snifter with such ease. There was just a tiny reminiscent of bubbles while I was pouring but near the end a beautiful head formed and left with me a one finger thick coca colored head that looked like froth on a great cup of coffee. When I hold my glass up to the light there is absolutely no chance of light passing through and I do not see any form of yeast chunks or trub floating around which is a good sign. I gave my over-sized snifter a generous swirl and noticed this baby just paints my glass with a nice amount legs and the lacing creeps down slowly.

Smell:

Even through this is barrel aged the most prominent aroma I am pulling out is rich deep chocolate and vanilla undertones. Very sweet and dessert like aromas are surly the front and center here with some faint bourbon lucking around which is very welcoming. Preferably I like the bourbon to be a little more noticeable but this is still a great beer so far and it won't take away from its construction. In the finish some burnt roasty flavors and maybe some form of earthy hops pushing through. Not a drop of heat alcohol to mention of.

Taste:

Simply divine! Very slick and smooth on the mouthfeel with big burst of vanilla up front. Complimented by subtle oaky notes chocolate, and espresso this really makes for a great sipping beer for the evening. Bourbon is present but not overwhelming, more so just a compliment to all of the complex flavors rather than being the only thing noticeable. Shockingly I do not notice any heat alcohol at all which is pretty surprising for being nearly 11%. In the finish just a touch of roasted or smoky BBQ is poking through but thing astringent or off putting. This is great now and I imagine that with a year or so with some age the flavors will mesh much better and even become more drinkable.

Drinkability:

Overall this was a nice representation of the style and very easy to drink. Again I say that I like my barrel aged beers a little bit more boozy but that is my preference. I am going to say that this is a huge step in the right direction for Evolution especially since they are so young. I would love to see these guys make the base imperial stout into a regular rotating beer because that in my opinion is what really makes this beer so good, the barrel just compliments it. If you get a chance to try this one go for it because it is just so damn smooth. If any of you are in the Maryland area or plan on traveling to Ocean City for a beach trip search these guys out because Dogfish Head isn't the only great brewery in the area.

Bmoyer0301, May 15, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of warriorsoul
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a great BA for this one.
22oz. from Evolution. Latest in their Menagerie Series.
Pours a lovely black w/ a full two fingers of cocoa-colored head. Most of which lingers for 20 minutes and creates some nice lacing...looking forward to this one.
Very pleasant in the nose. Vanilla, dark chocolate, and a hint of licorice.
Taste is a wonderful blend of dark chocolate, vanilla and oak. Less of the licorice in the flavor, but the mild bourbon decides to show up and is just enough to complement the style.
Medium bodied, with a good amount of carbonation. Alcohol is hidden nicely. Very easy to enjoy a bomber of this gem by my lonesome, but even the better half is enjoying this offering from Geoff and Co.

warriorsoul, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Evolution Brewery at the release. Review from notes.

A: Served in a snifter. Very dark brown, almost black, in color with a nice mocha colored head on top. Eventually, the head reduces to a outer ring of foam. Nice lacing that sticks to the sides forms.

S: Nice aroma with the bourbon coming through a bit, but providing a very nice vanilla characteristic. A little bit of roasted malt and a deep chocolate aroma as well. Slight hint of booze, but not off-putting whatsoever.

T: The taste is really great. Right away there is a great combination of vanilla and chocolate with some light roasted malt. There is a bit of oak and the bourbon shines through as a bit of sweetness and a bit of spice. There is a slight smoky flavor mixed in near the end, which has a slightly sweet finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate retention. Finish is slightly sweet, but not sticky. Drinks very smooth.

O: Loved this beer, one of the best that Evolution has put out so far. Extremely smooth and easy drinking for style and abv. Very excited to see how this does over time. Hopefully it will be made again.

mdaschaf, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of Magery
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Magery, May 07, 2013
Photo of jsanford
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of THECPJ. Cheers, Shane! Poured into an Evolution tasting glass.

A - Dark, ominous black with a thick, creamy, mocha-colored head that settles to a thick haze, leaving sheets of lacing clinging to the glass a it recedes.
S - Whew! That's a big one! Huge flavors of dark roasted malt, brownie batter, vanilla, and Bourbon. Smells a touch on the "hot" side, but I think I'll be OK ;)
T - Yeah, definitely on the boozy side, but god knows there's plenty of dark malt to back it up. Tons of dark chocolate and caramel with big Bourbon flavors of oak and vanilla. Really smooth, despite the high ABV.
M - Thick and viscous, with a chewy, sticky mouthfeel and a full body.
O - A very impressive BA RIS from a (relatively) new brewery, these guys are doing some great thing! Thanks again to Shane for passing this along to me!

jsanford, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark as night inky black pour with a nice little tan head of about two inches that fades down into a nice layer of about an inch or so that hangs around for the remainder of the session.

nice aroma, rich cooca and coffee dominate with a nice touch of bitter and roasted malts that take over the profile very nicely. smooth, effortless flavor then wraps itself over the palate. light hints of vanilla mix in with the dark chocolate and rich roasted malts. small touch of alcohol but this fades quickly as it warms and leaves you with a nice touch of sweet vanilla and brown sugar

mikesgroove, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of Immortale25
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Green Flash cask-style glass. No freshness date but I've been holding onto this bottle for almost a year, so I'm sure it was bottled in 2011.

A- Pours an absolutely opaque motor oil black with a 1/4 inch dark tan head that doesn't retain much before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a small amount of light surface foam. Average lacing.

S- Deeply roasted coffee and chocolate that's semi-sweet and also has a hint of black licorice.

T- Firm, burnt malt taste. Incredibly easy to drink for 10.5% ABV. The chocolate comes through more dark in the flavor and not as sweet. The black licorice also surfaces adding a sort of spice note to the flavor profile. Roasted coffee aftertaste. Some hops clamor their way to the point of detection but this is, decidedly, a malt bomb.

M- Has a thick chewy mass to it that's also a bit creamy. Medium-low carbonation is spot-on for the style.

O- Exactly the way I prefer an RIS. Maybe could've used a tad more aging to make it peak, but I'm glad I opened it when I did.

Immortale25, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

mendvicdog, Apr 12, 2014
Photo of ShanePB
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, generously shared by Matt aka mdaschaf when my girlfriend and I visited him in DE. Simplistic yet attractive labeling on the bottle, poured into two tulip glasses.

A: Deep dark brown and black body with some burgundy hues along the top edge. Thick, creamy tan head along with splotchy lacing and a thin retention ring. An absolute beautiful looking beer in the glass, even until the last drop.

S: Caramel toffee notes, almonds, sugar coated and roasted pecans, bitter dark chocolate, sweet bourbon. Molasses is the finishing aroma rounding out an extremely diverse and very barrel aged nose.

T: The oak character dominates at first though it's not overdone. Semi sweet chocolate morsels, slightly bitter coffee notes and some melted, sticky caramel finish. At the very end of the finish into the linger, mellow and flavorful bourbon wood notes stick around. For being so big, this is not hot whatsoever, nor does it leave any unpleasant residual flavors. Powerful and masterfully crafted.

M: Nicely carbonated, medium to full bodied. Smooth, creamy, a bit bubbly and lively on the tongue. Really, this is damn near perfect for what I want and expect in a big Russian Imperial Stout.

Only my second beer from Evolution and this literally knocked my socks off. The flavors were so well blended, balanced and coexisted in what some would consider perfect harmony. At no point was a beer of this size a challenge to finish -- in fact, it left me wanting more after we finished the bottle. Truly, an absolute under the radar and fantastically crafted beer.

ShanePB, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of oline73
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Max's, poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours almost black with very little light coming through. There is a layer of tan head that leaves just a ring.

Smell: Sweet roasty bourbon and a hint of port. I'm picking up some alcohol too.

Taste: Sweet roast initially and then the bourbon shows up. Hints of vanilla and dark chocolate. The alcohol and sweetness combine in a way that kind of reminds me of port in the finish. There is some bitter roast in there as well.

Mouthfeel: It's on the thick side of medium, but could be a touch thicker. Prickly carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: This is a good beer. I would have liked a bit heavier body, but I really enjoyed the vanilla notes and the alcohol is quite smooth.

oline73, May 20, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 22oz bottle to plastic tasting cup at Rick's Wine & Gourment in Alexandria, VA on 5/14/11. Poured by Tommy Knorr, Founder of Evo.

A BIG thanks goes out to Tom for bringing this sought-after brew with him, as it's a brewery-only release. Cheers!

*It should be noted that the barrel used is Heaven Hill.

A: It's a rich and fudgy, chocolate brownie-black. A decent head, .75 and some reasonable lacing considering it's being poured into a plastic cup.

S: Fantastic - the prize winner of the brew. It reminds me quite a bit of Blue Mountain's Dark Hollow: dark chocolate dipped coconut and bourbon. Mellow yet robust. Just fantastic.

T: As expected, it's got a good amount of boozey bourbon, though it's very laid back and take it's time to develop on the palate. Complex. The malt is slightly sooty, but it in no way over powers the whiskey. Some coconut and sweetness from the alcohol come out on the finish.

M: Not as thick as I expected, but it certainly isn't flabby. It's got a great, creamy carbonation to it. I would love to try this on a nitro-tap.

O: I'm pretty pissed I won't be making it to the brewery this weekend for the official release, as I'd love to grab a few bottles for the cellar. Evolution's Menagerie #5 is one of the better RIS's to hit my palate in some time, and I must give BIG props to Tom & crew for creating a real winner with this one. Absolutely worth seeking out.

Rhettroactive, May 14, 2011
Photo of jamesmbirchnyc
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Chocolately brown color with surprisingly little head. Swashing around the beer almost reminds me of what used motor oil might look like in a beer mug.

S: So malty you almost feel like your standing next to the brewer as the hot licquor is transfered back to the kettle for boiling.

T: The first note is carmel and it lasts very briefly before the slick aftertaste of chocolate takes over.

M: Obviously a very heavy beer at 10.5 and you can taste the heavyness in each sip. But this is to be expected and works really well with the color and smell.

O: One of my favorite beers, and perhaps the best RIS I've ever had.

jamesmbirchnyc, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of yourefragile last night. Served in a Hill Farmstead long-stem tulip.

Pours a moderately-dark brown with a thin off-white head and a good collar throughout.

Nose brings forward mild bourbon and a bit of light cream. Faint roast and a bit of chocolate as well. Nothing too strong or complex. The flavor is about the same -- light bourbon notes as well as light roast and a bit of chocolate. Fairly creamy.

The mouthfeel is the highlight of this one -- nice and creamy with a smooth finish after a medium-heavy body.

Pretty good, but not fantastic.

Thorpe429, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of HosP
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lots of beer karma sent to BeerThursdays for this one. Very generous BA, thanks Jay! Poured into snifter.

A- Pours very dark, almost jet black, other than the dark brown around the edges from the light. Nice khaki head that stays around the edge.

S- Very nice earthy aroma. Nice roasty smell mixed with vanilla and some chocolate. Bourbon aroma comes through nicely to support the other smells. Very enjoyable nose.

T- Starts out nicely with some sweet vanilla flavors. Subtle chocolate hints behind the vanilla. Nice roasted, oak flavors throughout that balance nicely with the sweetness. Bourbon gets detected more at the end and tie everything together nicely. Very smooth, gets a little hot as it warms. Oak, bourbon flavors tend to dominate as you keep drinking a bit.

M- Right at a full body, maybe medium. Low carbonation. A little dry in the mouth but not bad. Some slight bitterness lingers.

O- Very nicely done BA RIS. Very nice flavors, balanced very well with the bourbon. Isn't to over the top with the flavors which makes for a very nice and smooth drink. Enjoyed this one very much. Big thanks to Jay for sending me this bottle for no reason other than spreading beer goodness.

HosP, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of AngusOg
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft at Max's in Baltimore. Poured into a sniflter. Dark brown to black with a thick tan head that disappeared quickly. Smells nice and roasty like a good stout should, a little cholcolate note and hint of the bourbon. The problem with some RIS are they are a bit hot for my tastes. But not this one. Blended well, this was an easy-drinker. As it warmed the nice bourbon finish began to become more apparant. Not as thick as other RIS, but still a solid beer from a solid brewery.

AngusOg, May 17, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing, Bobby.

A: The beer pours very dark brown, almost black, with a finger of tan head.

S: Plenty of roasted malts and espresso-like coffee notes to this. Lots of chocolate with a little bit of vanilla, booze, and oak. The bourbon comes off a bit too hot and almost solvent-like.

T: The flavor is a bit better. Definitely still boozy with some nice fruit notes which balance out the intense roast and charred oak flavors. A bit of dark chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon.

M: Medium bodied with a somewhat high level of carbonation.

O: The nose wasn't very good, but the flavor wasn't too bad. Don't think I need to have this one again, though.

womencantsail, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of John_M
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Frankly, I wasn't sure I'd ever get to try this beer at all. However, Matt (slatetank) had a bottle for his stout tasting, and so got to try it in that format as well.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is impressive, and shows the effects of considerable barrel aging. In this case I get dark chocolate, bourbon, milk duds, vanilla, cherry and light coffee. The flavor profile tends to repl9cate the nose pretty closely, though I thought the dark chocolate and vanilla dominated in this moderately sweet stout. Mouthfeel is full, soft, creamy and long in this delicious stout. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile... I can tell the abv. is up there, but this beer is not at all heavy, tiring or hot on the palate.

Just an altogether outstanding effort from this impressive, local (relatively speaking) brewery. I thought the bottled version had a bit more depth of flavor, but either way (bottle or draft), this is a delicious beer.

John_M, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

DoubleSimcoe, May 03, 2012
Photo of stageseven
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Evo brewery.

Ar - thick aroma loaded with roast, vanilla, oak, and dark chocolate. Bourbon notes as well with just a touch of booze, but in a pleasant way.

Ap - deep brown color, some dark tan head with creamy bubbles. Sticks to the glass a bit when swirled.

T - roast, vanilla, and some oak dominate. A bit of dark chocolate. Theres a moderate bitterness in the back that's pretty clean and well balanced. Very obviously a bourbon aged beer, but so smooth and not much alcohol heat to it. Really comes into its own when it sits a few minutes to warm up. Drink at cellar temps for sure.

M - medium body, well carbonated. Not too much carbonation but not flat either. Could be a little thicker in the mouth but it felt pretty good.

O - Excellent BA Russian Imperial Stout. Bourbon flavors and wood blend well with the beer in a way that isn't overdone. Very well balanced between the bitter and sweet flavors. May not be a "world class" beer yet, but given a few years it should really develop nicely.

stageseven, May 11, 2011
Photo of Tenchi221
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Tenchi221, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of Jules11788
4.22/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black color that lets no light through; very small head, very light lacing

S: Sweet bourbon, dark chocolate woodiness, light notes of roasted coffee

T: Roasted malts, sweet bourbon-soaked wood, and dark chocolate. This stuff tasted like one of those chocolate truffles filled with bourbon liqueur, it was so delicious. I would love to enjoy a bottle of this with ice cream or cookies

M: Thick and smooth, lightly carbonated, just the slightest bite of booze at the end

O: This was a deliciously chocolaty beer that reminded me so much of those fancy liqueur-filled chocolates. If you enjoy a good Imperial Stout you will like this a lot.

Jules11788, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of klipper
4/5  rDev -5.4%

klipper, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to TheCPJ for sharing. Bomber into a snifter, the brew appears dark brown to black with a ring of brown clarity around the edge. A brown head rests atop and slowly fades leaving some spotty lacework on the glass.

The aroma contains plenty of sweet cocoa, vanilla and toasty coconut from the barrel aging. A hint of wood and roasty grain like coffee fills out the rest of the aromatics with a mild tingle of alcohol.

The flavor is bitter roasted grain with suggestions of coffee and herbal hops with a hint of earth. Dark fruity alcohol like raisin with a contrasting barrel sweetness like vanilla and caramel. Some coconut with a contrasting raw woody quality comes out across the back as it warms.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Pleasantly roasty and bitter with a solid barrel presence. These guys at Evolution really got a handle on things and work some magic with barrel aging. I need to get my hands on more of their stuff.

stakem, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of lackenhauser
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black in appearance with a nice, small, tight dark tan head on top. Very nice aroma-really has come into it's own as it warms. Nice oak and vanilla notes with a light trace of bourbon. Not as boozs as it was when first poured. A lot of oak up front in the flavor. Heavy dark chocolate and cocoa. Decent enough hop bite to be barely noticeable. Again this has improved greatly as it warms-not as boozy and bourbon flavored. Sure it is there but has faded a bit to let the oak and vanilla come thru. Nice solid mouthfeel-almsot has a sticky, sweet, creamy feel to it. A great beer all around. Glad I have an extra 1 or 2 to lay down cause me thinks this will cellar quite nicely.

lackenhauser, May 13, 2011
Photo of monitorpop
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

monitorpop, Nov 14, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Menagerie #5 from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.