Menagerie #5 - Evolution Craft Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Menagerie #5Menagerie #5

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

32 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 32
Hads: 53
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 4.74%
Wants: 48
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:
Beer added by: yourefragile on 05-11-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 32 | Hads: 53
Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
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. (568 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
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 (579 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.56/5  rDev -15.6%
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. (660 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (751 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at the brewery - enjoyed chilled from a tulip and allowed to gradually warm.

The color is deep brown bordering on black with a thick cap of sandstone, the clarity is opaque and lace clings well. The smell is rich with malt that has coffee aroma and a lot of vanilla from the barrel, the bourbon presence in this stout is pretty high but definitely complimentary. The feel is very good but the alcohol is a little forward perhaps it will tone down but I do like a bourbon barrel aged stout to show some bourbon warmth so I don't really fault it for this a nice amount of carbonation(low) and sweetness with full feel almost chewy overall.

This stout is so good for so many reasons -the taste of the malt is not overly roasted with a gentle yeast element that provides some dark dried fruit flavors with enough hops to keep the sweetness in check. I really love the bourbon barrel treatment since it is pretty strong in the flavor and yet does not distract from the base beer at all, this is a good example of how a barrel can add to the brew and increase its complexity adding some layers of flavor without destroying the imperial stout or giving it to much boozy heat. I consider this a successful stout in just about every way. I will probably let this have some time in the cellar to allow some of the flavors to marry but it is incredibly good to drink right now. (1,389 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bob (klipper) for sharing this one. It's been on my wants for a while now. Served in an Alvinne taster glass while waiting for FFF to open.

A - A thin mocha foam settles to a partial ring of bubbles, leaving behind a few stray spots of lace. Pitch black body.

S - Lots of oak present here - I'm guessing this was in barrels for quite some time. Lots of vanilla, roasted malts, anise, dark fruits, and surprisingly little overt bourbon flavor. Alcohol is relatively well-hidden too.

T - The taste is also very vanilla-forward, with light dry oak, dark chocolate, and black licorice flavors. Again, the bourbon contribution is quite restrained, with more barrel influence than anything. Alcohol is present, but not excessive - I guessed 10-11% without looking at the bottle.

M - Smooth, chewy, medium body, with a sticky finish, and mild warming alcohol on the throat. Surprisingly low amount of tannins for something so oaky. Carbonation level is moderate-to-low.

D - It's a nice barrel-aged Imperial Stout, but there's not a lot to distinguish it from the umpteen other beers in this style. I enjoyed drinking it and I would certainly have it again if offered, but at the same time I wouldn't actively seek it out again. Certainly a very good effort from a new brewery. Was kind of surprised to see it only spent 5 months in barrels. (1,348 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  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. (1,122 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (973 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (1,570 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. 22oz bottle shared at a recent tasting. It poured pitch black in color with a thin, fizzy, tan head to it. it had some nice retention to it though as I drank it.

The aroma shows a modest bourbon and oak profile to it. I get some nice roasty, dark chocolate flavors mixing with a little vanilla. Pretty decent aroma overall, but not something that really stood out to me for the style.

The taste shows more of the barrel characteristics. I get toasty coconut, woody oak and a little boozy bourbon. I get more of the roasty, dark chocolate, slightly burnt and bitter flavors of the base beer coming out in the finish. It's a nice balancing of the barrel and base beer characteristics.

The mouthfeel is heavy with carbonation being moderate for the style. Overall it was a pretty solid barrel aged beer. It was very flavorful and balanced the beer flavors and the barrel flavors pretty nicely. (916 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle shared with Mike and Matt. First bottle I've tried; previously tried this on tap at ChurchKey and at the source with abysmal results. Served in a McKenzie...sniflup? (I have no idea what to call this glass).

Pours a mocha, opaque chocolate with a finger thick dark khaki head. Minimal lacing and a splotchy cap.

Aroma is weak and mild; vaguely Eclipse-like if I use my imagination super hard. Light malt with solvent alcohol. Chocolate and roast are strongest notes with faint "bourbon".

Flavor is much more impressive in balance and subtlety. Alcohol is smoothed out and a surprising amount of balance between the strong chocolate, bourbon and oak barrel flavors and roast, light hop and dark fruit RIS base.

Body is, well crap, sort of perfect. Silky, smooth, medium thick and chewy with light carbonation. Flavor is lacking depth and complexity but the body is enough to make me want to sip this all night with a pleasant warming kick of alcohol in the finish.

An exceptional BA RIS for the DelMarVa region and OK one for the rest of the US. Seek this out regardless; one day Evolution might make a world beater. (1,137 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
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. (998 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.27/5  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. (1,406 characters)

Photo of AngusOg
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (491 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: black with a 2 finger mocha head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, little booze

taste: very nice complex bourbon vanilla flavor.

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body,

overall: pretty damn good RIS represented here glad I got to try it on tap and from the bottle. Evolution is definitely one of the better up and coming breweries.

Cheers,
The CPJ (377 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (1,044 characters)

Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a nice dense espresso colored head. Leaves moderate lacing behind as it slowly fades away.

S: Loaded with bourbon and dark fruits. Lots of fig, raisin, toffee, molasses and caramel. Quite oaky to boot. Don't get any roasted malt, smells more like a bourbon barrel BSDA than anything.

T: Bourbon is a little more subdued here but still quite strong. Big toffee and oak hit up front. Roasted malt kicks in with a really creamy, almost chalky char flavor. Bitter chocolate comes along into the finish. Lingering strong oakiness in the aftertaste with a bit of vanilla mixed in.

M: Thick, heavy, creamy and almost chalky at times.

O: Very bourbon heavy RIS for sure. Super oaky; a bit detracting. Otherwise a pretty well balanced and complex barrel aged RIS. Think with some age on it the oak might fade a bit and it could be really good. Has potential for sure. (882 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
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! (838 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (681 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz, May 2011 release
Mini snifter

A: Pours deep dark brown leading to black. Dark head of about a half finger. Alcohol feet. Some dark reddish hues.

S: More dark fruits than I was expecting. Soy sauce. Dark chocolate. Some barrel notes: vanilla and dry oak.

T: Sharp dark chocolate. Roasted malts. Barrel character is a little muted but there. Some vanilla notes. Dry finish. Lingering chocolate.

M: Full bodied. (418 characters)

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BZero007 for popping this one open!

Poured a solid black with brown head that faded fairly quickly.

The smell was intense bourbon and oak with a coffee roast as well.

The taste was oaky on the front, with a slight vanilla on the mid, and a coffee and bourbon on the back that lingers for a bit.

This beer was silky smooth and a little heavy on the mouthfeel.

It was spot on for a barrel aged Stout and hangs in there with the best of them for sure. They also didn't skimp on the barrel aging and is the forefront of this beer while remaining balanced. (567 characters)

Photo of beer2day
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jet black pour with maybe the faintest suggestion of red in just the right light. 1-finger of dark mocha head, faint retention, and thin wisps of lace.

Strong oak and bourbon nose. Mocha, espresso, and woody roasted malt back that alcohol up. Touch of vanilla and light pine. Well done and nicely complex.

Big notes of bourbon and alcohol dominate the tongue. Lots of rich chocolate, dark roast coffee, and even more oaky bourbon as the glass warms. Hides the abv pretty well, but still a definite boozy hit here. Light vanilla cream in the finish, up against the bitter chocolate malt.

Medium body, perhaps just a bit too thin for the robust flavors.

Overall, I'd easily get this again. The bourbon is not too over the top for my tastes, but does get in your face a bit. (776 characters)

Photo of BeerThursdays
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Opened one of these the other night with a few friends. Beer was all black with a nice tan head. Smell was Coffee, molasses and vanilla. Taste has really improved over the last year. Alcohol has dropped off tremendously and the vanilla and chocolate flavors are very prominent. In the mouth, this is thick and smooth. Alcohol is only found in the finish. Mildly carbonated.

Overall, this beer has done great with a year on it. Barrel flavor has settled down a bit and is very drinkable. Can't image it will get much better at this point, so I think I'll start to revisit this one about once a month. (600 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at a recent Northern Virginia tasting.

Black pour with a brown head. Smoky deep smell with a ton of chocolate and caramel malts. The bourbon really shines through. A ton if oak and chocolate. Tasty and boozy, but not balanced all that well and a bit hot. Heavy and creamy body. A lot of alcohol on the finish. I wish it was a bit more balanced. (353 characters)

Photo of ShogoKawada
3.91/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz into mini snifter. Booyah.

A- Deep dark brown, nothing out of the ordinary. Mild sandy tan head that settles to an outer ring.

S- Lots of caramel and vanilla, heavy bourbon. Very nice, though.

T- This beer is all about the bourbon. Nutty, caramel, smooth silky malts. Hot on the tongue, though. Mild coffee astringency in the finish.

M- Hot and heavy alcohol presence. I'm digging it, but I can see how it could put people off. Would be interesting to taste this with some age on it.

O- Enjoyable, would prob. be best to split this one. Good stuff though, a very impressive first from Evolution. (608 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Menagerie #5 from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.