Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration) - Evolution Craft Brewing Company

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Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration)Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration)

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BA SCORE
89
very good

136 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 136
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.48%
Wants: 27
Gots: 23 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: lackenhauser on 11-10-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 136 | Reviews: 36
Photo of TNT
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Definitely get chardonnay barrel, a white grape tartness, and a nice malt backbone. This beer is killer.

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottles gushes on opening, poured into the glass with a huge foamy head thy quickly dulls down to a foamy layer of off-white bubbles. Body is a light Amber with lots of chunky floaters and a cloudy appearance. Aroma is of Bretty funk, white grapes, oaky white wine and hints of toasted oak. Flavor is much of the same, the barrels come through heavily, lots of toasted oak, lots of earthy Brett. Mouthfeel is tart, with big, prickly carbonation. Feel is somewhat "dirty" as well, with the floaters and the earthiness coming in play. All in all a pretty unique beer. It is rare that so much barrel comes through as it does in this one.

Photo of maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%

Thanks to hefman for this bottle, arriving in a well-packed box several weeks ago. Fall 2013 vintage split with my wife.

Fucknutsfuckingfuckloads. I nick the top & it spews like Ron Jeremy: all over my the counter, the floor, my Columbia, probably on the neighbors deck, too. Minus 45 points & several ounces. Two towels & several minutes later, I try to pour the beer gently, with little success. Even a feather-light pour overtops the big snifter I ease it into. After all that, it’s orange. Smells very wine-like, pear, grapes, gentle sweetness. No brett in evidence, but at least the smell didn’t foul my shirt.

Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale – Fall Migration might be more appropriately found in the wine aisle. The wine barrels are aggressive, & the drying brett plus wood makes it even more vinous. Even more gung-ho is the spitfire carbonation, which is almost seltzer-like in the mouth, fizzing & distracting. Pop rocks, anyone? Finish is light fruit, pear, grapes, a little banana. Half a bomber is enough, I’ll likely be belching between snores tonight.

The carbonation here is serious miss & really detracts from the beer, even aside from the physical disaster. A good beer, maybe a better champagne.

Photo of Stevedore
3.16/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fall 2013 bottle. Poured into a Toppling Goliath snifter 9/28/2014. This one gushed upon opening.

A- Clear golden body, not much in way of head, thin collar, some lacing.

S- Wooden funk, chardonnay, the light lemon flavours typical of Brett, a bit of sweet pale malt. A little bit of rubber.

F- Chardonnay flavours, lemon, sweet pale malt. A little oak. Slightly tart, a bit of earth.

M- On the thinner side of medium, well carbonated with a dry earthy finish.

O- It's alright. Funk is there, a bit thin; perhaps the Brett went a bit too out of control here. Tricky little buggers, these.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.89/5  rDev -3%

750ml bottle poured into a wine stem.

Fall of 2013; consumed 9/12/14. Bottle# 380 out of 1500.

Appearance: pale yellow bodied beer with massive fluffy and rocky white head. Great head retention and lots of thick lacing left on the side of the glass. Head eventually falls to a thin head.

Smell: Lots of white wine. Oak and earthy brett. Lots of vanilla notes.

Taste: This tastes like a white wine cream sickle. Yeah, I just made that word up, but this is exactly what it would taste like if you swap the orange profile in a cream sickle for white wine flavor profile. It is both weird yet it seems keeps my interest. Got some pale malts in there too.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with low carbonation levels.

Overall: I think that this bottle did not age well. Was hoping that the brett would help the beer stay more carbonated than it actually was. This beer must have had a very strong white wine barrel presence when it was fresh based on how big the white wine still was in this beer.

Photo of sweetcell
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 release.

A: dark end of golden. head never fell and left behind a nice lacing.

S: heavy brett with some pear.

T: vinous with a nice brett funk. i swear i get a hint of lacto in there, but maybe it's just the combo of brett + chardonnay barrel-aging.

M: relatively high carbonation.

O: outstanding brett-driven beer. one of the best i've ever had. sad that i've just finished my second, and last bottle. will be on the lookout for future editions.

Photo of Florida9
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazey darker yellow in color. Forms a moderate sized yellow pink head. Decent retention.

S: Aroma is vinous. Grapey, slightly acidic. Bright.

T: Taste is similar. Vinous. Like a heavily carbonated white wine.

M: Lighter bodied heavier carb.

O: A nice beer.

Photo of Poucher86
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - buttery like look, descent lacing going on.

S- has gobs of fruit aromas. A big one is a sweet Granny Smith apple aroma

T- A lot of things are thrown at you in the tasting. It exposes more character than the smell alone. Orange peel, buttery smooth at the same time. Hints of pear

M- Fat mouth feel, sharp after taste and long lasting finish

O- the most unique beer I've had but an outstanding overall beer

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle into a Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a very cloudy copper color. I can't see much of the carbonation through the glass. There's about a finger worth of off-white colored head, and it features excellent retention and a uniform texture. No lacing is left behind.

S: Wow, there's quite a bit on the nose that's interesting. There are the usual gathering of Belgian yeast esters (apples, white grapes, pears), and a slight funk as well, but the oak here has a distinctly buttery note that really adds to both the barrel qualities and the beer itself. There's also some vanilla, too, along with peaches, cherries, cream, and even - as crazy as it may sound - chocolate. I told myself not to homer it up before reviewing this...

T: It opens up with a very fresh notes of apple and grape. The barrel flavor hits the middle of the palate, bringing oak, vanilla, and even a touch of butter. Afterwards, there's a distinct third act where the brett comes out - though it will take a few sips before the funk really hits the taste buds. Its brett character brings a nice fruitiness that book ends the initial apple and grape tones with something more resembling cherries. The finish is quite fruity in particular, and almost tart at times. Occasionally, some tobacco will try to appear in spots near the back end, and is all the more welcome. It brings the complexity without being moronic, sloppy, or overdone in any manner, and that makes it a fantastic beer.

M: In spite of the fizzy carbonation, it's actually quite soft. It's also not as dry as some Belgian-style ales, rather it has a semi-sweet, long lasting finish. Not so sweet as to loaf around on the palate, thankfully; since the carbonation is long-lasting, it still remains relatively dry and drinkable. Some might be turned off by the carbonation. Don't care, still delicious.

O: First off, it's hard for me to homer on MD beers - sure, what I've had from Stillwater has been good, but half of Flying Dog's line up is meh, three quarters of Heavy Seas' line up is meh, and the rest are mere footnotes. Evolution is the glorious exception to that rule: I'll hype their beers 'til the cows come home, not just to raise their trade value (daddy wants to snag some HT when money's less tight), but because their offerings really are that delicious. This being no exception. It's nicely complex without having to beat the palate down with excessive anything. I could think about killing another 750 of this, it's that damn good.

Photo of SlothB77
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Lager Glass.

Extremely foamy, extremely carbonated pour. Cloudy pale golden color. Cannot see through it. Mild lacing.

Potent nose with grapes, citrus/ sweet fruit, apple, banana and wheat.

It has, as expected, a Belgian ale/ white wine flavor. Grapes, honey, wheat. Very sweet. Very strong flavor. A lot going on here.

The acidity and carbonation do kind of continue to battle in the stomach. Very sweet.

Deductions for the extra carbonation and foam, but the nose and taste pop with flavor.

Photo of dtivp
3.27/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Forgot I had this beer and just found it in the back of the beer cellar.

Poured a cloudy pale gold with a one and a half finger foamy off white head that receded slowly into a thin layer with moderate lacing.

Aroma of wine, grapes and yeast.

Taste followed the nose dominated by the tart wine flavor,oak, followed by some bready yeast.

Mouth Feel was medium body, light carbonation, slightly sour and tart.

Overall the age may have impacted this beer, it was more of a wild ale to me than a pale ale. The wine oak flavor dominated the beer a little too much for me.

Photo of homebrew311
3.29/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes. Appearance is pale yellow which is slightly cloudy and present a thin head. The Chardonnay character comes through first and foremost on the nose with tons of grape, be an interplay between sweet and tart. The taste brings more Chardonnay, but in an unfortunate way. Cheap wine comes through with nearly cloying sweet notes. The finish is relatively dry. Mouthfeel is thick for the sle and has an appropriate mount of carbonation. Overall, this one doesn't stand out.

Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 408 of 1350

Appearance: Pours a cloudy peach color with a massive head that patches lace all around the tulip

Smell: Vinous oak, honeydew melon, pear, bread and a hint of funk

Taste: Buttery chardonnay, up front, with melon and pear flavors forward; by mid-palate, the oak and brett kick in to add a woody, sour and funky character, all of which is understated; in the finish, everything dries out, but there are lingering elements of everything that was tasted in the front end

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation; a bit puckery

Overall: A really impressive beer; after having some false starts with wine barrel aged beers I am finding that I am really appreciating the impact they bring to the base beer - this beer is right up there with the Westbrooks as far as the East Coast brewers go

Thanks, mdaschaf, for the opportunity

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle (587 of 1350) courtesy of my secret santa 2011, lackenhauser...one of the last remaining gifts, no less. Pours a crystal clear (at least initially) cider color with a large cap of off-white head. Decent retention and lacing. Ive really enjoyed the other Evo brews I have had, so cheers to them!

Nose is moderately tart grapes along with a noticeable chardonnay aroma. Brett has not imparted an overly earthy, rotting wood aspect yet, which works well in this case. It is still bright and crisp smelling.

Taste shows a nice balance of bright white wine and woody, brett character. The wild yeast is more noticeable on the flavor than in the aroma, unfortunately, and covers up much of the usual saccharomyces characteristics of a BSPA. Minor complaints though, as this is one of the better brett beers I have had and overall quite tasty. I am glad I did not age this one further. Mouthfeel is nice and highly carbonated in true BSPA fashion. I cant believe Im saying this, but I think I could do without the brett. The base beer tastes like it is pretty amazing stuff and if they could get the chard barrel without the wild yeast, this might be one for the ages. As it warms it gets better and better and swirling some of the carbonation out does good things to the flavor, makes it a little more wine-like and seems to serve the beer well. I feel very lucky to have gotten to try this super tasty treat, thanks a ton man!

Photo of russwbeck
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: It pours out of the bottle with a really nice yellow orange pour. Bubbles burst out of the liquid as soon as it touches the glass and builds up a large white head. Retention and lacing are very nice.

S: Belgian yeasts and really sweet. The floral aroma shares a lot of white wine notes from the Chardonnay barrels, but the Belgian Strong Pale Ale characteristics still assert their refreshing qualities.

T: Uniquely Belgian, the taste is light but packed with unique flavors. Really dry white wine and oak flavors blend with the yeasty and sweet Belgian qualities. The barrel aging has added a really nice aspect to the taste, and I'm starting to understand the how wine barrels can improve beer. The Brett is there, but not overwhelming. The taste is more yeasty than sour, but every once in a while you get a real nice, tart kick.

MF: Very light and refreshing. The carbonation is great and the dry sweetness of the taste makes it deliciously drinkable.

O: This beer was great. A really nice Belgian Strong Pale aged delicately in wine barrels that improve the taste. I really recommend this one, it might even age nicely.

Photo of FosterJM
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1275th Review on BA
Bottle to HF Stem
750ml

2011 #481/1350

Thanks to Mdaschaf for this one

App- A very deep and rich golden orange. Big amounts of bubbles flow up from the bottom. A nice large three finger head that falls slowly with a great amount of cling.

Smell- When the cap pops you are hit immediately with the yeast. A lot of wine tannins woft up with a earthy oak flavor. Has a large Brett presence and a touch of ripe fruits.

Taste- This is enjoyable but a bit thick. The flavors are well layered with a Brett flavor coming 1st and then oak and wine tannins come next. Really a bit spicy as well. The BSPA mixed with a light saison is a good combo. A bit of old fruit is the last of the flavors. Not bad just different.

Mouth- This is really a medium body with some spritzy tannin and booze notes. The feel is almost spot on. A bit thicker than I would like. A nice medium carbonation with good Brett and oak flavors.

Drink- I liked this. I think as it ages this would actually meld and mesh a bitter. Big flavors all around and well layered. The brett is prevalant and the tannins just tend to kick it up a notch.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Chris for opening this in line at Dark Lord Day 2012. Served in a taster glass. Pours a nice golden color with a fairly-foamy white head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The nose carries a good dose of Chardonnay plus a touch of Brett-induced funk. Nice dryness and crispness to the flavor with earthy notes underneath a nice oak presence along with dry white grapes. Good body and dry finish. Very nice.

Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A capped 750 mL bottle, randomly uncovered at the Wine Source a few months back. #926 of 1,350.

A: A bright golden color, transparent. A steady stream of bubbles replenishes the finger of white head that came with the initial pour. Very little head lasts though, quickly whittling away.

S: A strong blend of barrels and buggers. The chardonnay is lush, a sweet fortified vinousness; the buggers are lemony and citric with a bit of acetic acid for good measure. The sourness doesn't grab you, it's not overpowering. Finally, the Belgian pale body comes through with a yeasty fruitiness.

T: The sweetness of the oak, adding chardonnay sugariness, really hits the spot. The mild vanilla and white grapiness overrun the Belgian pale aspects. The sourness seems to have disappeared; I'm really not getting any bite out of the ale. What's there blends into the barrel. That vinous flavor, present throughout, drives the flavor and yields to the pale biscuity body near the finish. The wine barrel shoulders the load and does so effortlessly.

M: I was not expecting to see this on the floor and I'm sure glad I scooped it up. The wine barrel, minus the funk, really makes the ale work.

Photo of Jason
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle with a vintage date and bottle # 697 of 1350.

LOOK: Pale brassy golden, clear with an amazing looking white lace

SMELL: Wood, vinous, lemon grass, mint, medicinal herb, shortbread, tartness, earthy

TASTE: Peppery, phenolic, lemon, buttery, slightly vinous, tart, bready, oak, white cherries, guava, nutty, dry finish

Excellent barrel work here and of corse there had to be a great brew to put into the barrel to play with the Brett. Intense but still drinkable, complex but not too far off the deep end as to slip away from a true beer geek that loves the funk.

Photo of Sean9689
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, ChrisPro! Bottle into Darkness tulip.

A - Pours a orange color, frothy white head, thick collar, wisps.

S - Nice level of yeasty funk, some citrus, notes, and some fruity sweetness. Light barnyard and some oak in there as well. Not a whole lot of brett for me in this one, still solid. Big Chardonnay for me up front, which is nice.

T - Very well-balanced, IMO. The oak and chardonnay are there for sure, and help with the funk and sweetness, giving the beer an excellent level of balance and good complexity. Light fruity sweetness, lemon peel, bananas, malts. Finish is funky and slightly sweet.

M - Light, good carbonation, semi-dry oak finish.

O - I think I would have liked a little more tartness and barrel out of this one. It's a very nice saison, and while I did get some of the Chardonney on the nose, it wasn't an evident on the palate. That said, very well-balanced and enjoyable...give it a try.

Photo of MasterSki
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ChrisPro for the share. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - A thin white foam settles to some wisps, thick collar, and a few spots of lace. Murky peach flesh body.

S - Heavy Chardonnay influence, and more of the wine and less of the buttery oak I tend to get from those barrels. Tropical fruits, and a nice does of earthy and barnyard funk. I think Belgian Strong Pale Ale is a bit misleading here.

T - Taste isn't quite as strong. There's some nice stone fruit malts and bretty tropical fruit flavors mingling with a light dash of vinous sourness. More malt-forward and less funky - I can see the BSPA base a bit more here. There's a slightly distracting playdough-esque flavor in the finish that brings this down a notch.

M - Medium body, medium-low carbonation, and a very dry and lightly tannic texture. Perhaps a hint of warming alcohol after a few ounces as well.

D - I'd consider this more of an American Wild Ale, as it has the characteristic wine barrel and brett combo that American breweries seem to love. Thankfully the strain that Evolution is using produces some nice flavors. I'd drink this again as it's a solidly crafted beer.

Photo of DefenCorps
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Village Pump for $13.99.

Pouring a coppery-orange, fairly clear, with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and very nice lacing, this is a very nice looking beer. The nose is pretty excellent too. Plenty of Chardonnay, along with a moderate level of Brett funk (pineapple, some tropical fruit) which works very well with the vinous notes. The chardonnay is fairly buttery too, and the vanilla from the oak does add to the complexity. Some spice character is present, with a little bit of clove and white pepper. A mild malt character with toasted grains is present. Very enjoyable stuff.

The palate expresses more of the Brett funk than does the nose, with hay, some tropical fruit, a touch of melon and a little green apple. Still, though, this is quite vinous, with buttery smooth chardonnay, a mild alcoholic note even. The alcohol is particularly noticeable on the finish, where it bumps into the vanilla and the oak in a not so pleasant way. Not much sourness, though there is a little tartness. Moderately spicy with the typical tripel blend of pepper and a little clove. While drying on the finish, there's a fullness to the body that enhances the chardonnay flavors here. With a fairly high level of carbonation, this does benefit from defizzing a while, especially as the carbonic acid does scrub out the already mild flavors (and enjoyable so) of the beer, leaving a finish that's a tad watery. In fact, the combination does make this seem just a touch like watery yogurt, I wonder if there was any lactobacillus that made it into one of the barrels. Despite all my nitpicking here, this is really enjoyable stuff and I'd buy another bottle.

A little too vinous to merit a comparison to Temptation (and not enough funk or sourness either), I'd compare it to Midnight Sun's Pluto (for it's Bretty vinousness) and Russian River's Depuration (for sheer buttery chardonnay goodness). While not as good as either of those beers, this is still very very worthy.

Photo of larryi86
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011- 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass

A- A hazy golden color with a four finger white head.

S- Chardonnay, oak, tart apples, grapes, light fruits.

T- Chardonnay, tart light fruits, oak, hint of funk, nice complexity, well balanced.

M- Smooth, dry, medium body, good carbonation.

O- An awesome beer and easy drinking. Best beer I have had from Evolution. The barrel really comes out but does not overpower the beer. Very happy I was able to get a second bottle in a trade.

2012- Just as good as 2011, finding some bottles more sour than others and getting some peppercorns in the finish that work nicely. Still feel this is one of my favorite beers from Evolution

Photo of DrBier
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 into Chimay goblet. #927 of 1350

Hazy golden with tight thin head, thin head lasts til bottom of goblet. Delicate med. lacing. Moderate ring of yeast in bottle for fairly young beer.

Moderate Brett funky aroma, obviously stronger as it warms, nice oak, white wine aromas initially less apparent as it warms.

Beautiful integration of the Belgian blond / strong ale? (a little too malty for a pale), with the Chardonnay barrels in the front end. It's carbonated and winey, funky Brett character kicks in midpalate and lasts through end. Finishes slightly sour from the barrel and moderately dry.

Very easy drinking. Hides the alcohol very very well. With age I think the Brett will kick in alot and this beer will change interestingly but it's really good right now.

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Evolution Fall Migration was a beer I really wanted to try, so I was pumped when my buddy from DC brought a bottle to my place to share.

An orange body has a slight haze to it, with a dull white head that is quite fluffy looking. The retention is solid, and the lacing sticks around in a few splotches and spots.

The aroma has a lot of brett in it, with some tartness and a lot of funky notes. Wood is noticeable, with some chardonnay tagging along as well. A little bit citrusy and fruity also.

There are a lot of barrel characteristics in this one. Spicy wood is followed by a hint of vanilla and a burst of chardonnay and white grape flavors. The brett is lightly tart with a burst of funk, but not especially powerful overall; it presents itself in the aroma much more strongly. Also, this is far from sour, with the tartness being just noticeable. There are some light, fruity flavors including citrus and white grapes, and a touch of bitterness. The pale malt in the background is fairly sweet without being the least bit cloying or overwhelming.

The body is moderate, and the carbonation is a touch high, making this one feel almost crisp.

Fall Migration did not disappoint. Fairly complex flavors and overall a pleasant beer to drink. I will definitely have to get my hands on their wine barrel-creations in the future.

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Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration) from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.