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

Not Rated.
Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration)Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

128 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 128
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 4
pDev: 9.5%
Wants: 27
Gots: 22 | 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: 128 | Reviews: 34
Reviews by akorsak:
Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev 0%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.08/5  rDev +2%
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 mdaschaf
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.

A: Pours a hazy light golden color with a good sized white foamy head on top. Lots of carbonation bubbles released from the bottom of the glass.

S: Nice aroma with some light fruits - peach, apple, a little bit of grape. There is a light tartness, not overly sour, and a bit of oak.

T: Upfront there is some of the light fruit again, peach, apricot, and apple, but this transitions to a really nice chardonnay flavor as well as some of the oak. There is a little bit of sour/funk, but it blends nicely in with the rest of the beer.

M: Light to medium bodied, active carbonation. Slightly dry finish. Just enough sourness to let you know it is in there.

O: Really nice beer from Evo, hoping that over time the Brett kicks it up a bit and the chardonnay flavor drops off. Look forward to trying this one again in the future.

Photo of DrBier
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
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 twiggamortis420
4.52/5  rDev +13%
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 ShanePB
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle shared with my girlfriend and family. Poured into a snifter.

A: Hazy golden yellow colored body that became more hazy as we got to the end of the bottle. Yeast sediment at the bottom, pour carefully. Nice fluffy white head that did dissipate somewhat rapidly. Very little lace and a thin retention ring.

S: Dry oak wood, white wine, white grape flesh, funk, hay and a minor citrus note towards the back end. It does have a bit of floral hop notes giving it a decent balance of aromas. Nicely done, certainly hope the taste is going where the nose does.

T: Lots of dry oak up front, followed by a crisp and clean Chardonnay quality. The use of the wine barrels is quite evident. The base beer comes through mid-palate, bringing a nice amount of yeast and spice, bitter lemon and a nice bit of funk. The brett gives it a good bit of funk, not sourness. Very earthy and hay-like, really nice actually.

M: Bubbly, well carbonated and certainly lively. The barrel didn't make this beer lose a lot of its body which is nice. Finishes with a clean cut, but it is dry on the palate.

Only my second "limited" beer from Evolution and this is really well done. I shared this with wine lovers, one who loves Chardonnay, and they really enjoyed this. It's one beer that showcases how versatile beer can be, especially with the use of wine barrels. Once again, nicely done Evo.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
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 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%

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 womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Bobby.

Pours a somewhat cloudy golden orange color with a tall white head. A nice bit of oak barrel aroma to this one as well as some must. Quite heavy on the white wine. There are some mild funk and tart notes to it, too. Just a hint of melon. The flavor is also lightly tart and funky with quite a bit of chardonnay flavor. Oak and mild vanilla along with some light fruits such as green melon and apple.

Photo of FosterJM
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
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 DefenCorps
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
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 HopHead84
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/02/2011

Bottle shared by Bobby at Strong Ale 2011.

A: Dark orange and slightly hazy with a white head.

S: Hay and wheat with grain and earthy notes. Lightly lactic with evident Chardonnay and oak. Fruit elements are redolent of apple and pear.

T: Wheat, grain, leather, and earth. White grapes blend with a pervasive apple presence. There's a light tartness in the lactic finish.

M: Upper light in body with high carbonation.

Overall: A highly drinkable slightly sour wine barrel aged Belgian Pale Ale. Good and worth a try.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pale amber in color with a decent enough head on top. The chardonay really is present in both aroma and flavor. Quite wine like. Very well balanced against the oak too. Distinct hop bite-not as noticeable at first but as you get into the beer you can really pick it out. Some nice BRETT going on. Lingering chardonay flavor. Solid mouthfeel, has an almost creamy finish. Just outstanding in my book. Really, really enjoyable. Damn I love these guys.

Photo of homebrew311
3.29/5  rDev -17.8%
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 SwillinBrew
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props out to Bobby/T0rino for bringing a bottle to the pizza port strong ale fest.

Poured a vibrant dirty straw color, very rich and deep, with a solid quarter inch of frothy egg whites for head, small bubbles everywhere.

The bouquet was of green apples with some mellow hints of an empty glass that had some grape juice in it right before you smelled it.

I tasted chardonay notes with some nice barnyard and hints of wet haystacks. Not overly tart but noticeable. Very effervescent and dry on the tongue. Easy to drink. I could go for more of this.

Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
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 Hojaminbag
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of russwbeck
4.48/5  rDev +12%
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 Stevedore
3.16/5  rDev -21%
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 Sean9689
3.8/5  rDev -5%
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 Poucher86
4.08/5  rDev +2%
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 mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 12/18/11 notes. Picked this up at Whole Foods in Clarendon, VA for $11.99. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Bell's tulip. Bottle 355 of 1350.

a - Pour a hazy medium orange color with one finger of fluffy off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Some spotty lacing left on the glass and the head lasts for several minutes.

s - Smells of brett, oak, chardonay, Belgian yeast, spice, light funk and earthy notes, and floral hops. Brett is strong and a little funky, and not overly sour, but very nice. Really like the nose.

t - Tastes of brett, oak, white wine, Belgian yeast, spices, light funk, floral hops, and light citrus hops. A little less funky than the nose, but still, very nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Crisp and easy to drink.

o - Overall I really liked this one. While it is not too sour there is a lot of brett in the nose which I loved, and the light sourness and funk comes through, especially in the nose. Haven't had the 2011 Winter Migration but liking this fresh a lot more than the 2010 Winter Migration, and excited to see what else they do with barrels in the future. Would buy it again.

Photo of larryi86
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
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 maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%

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 pwoody11
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes at the release:

Poured a nice golden color. Decent head. Bubbly.

Aroma was sexy and attractive. Fruity. Tart. Sour Apples and red grapes.

Taste follows the nose for the most part. Grapes, apple, vanilla. A little tart. Not very sour. Chardonay comes through nicely. To be honest, a slightly more soured version of this would be my dream beer.

Mouthfeel was as expected from the appearance. Champagne like

Overall, this is my favorite in the migration series so far. Love what Evo is doing down state. As I already stated, hope the sourness kicks it up a notch with a little time on it. This coming from a huge fan of sours I might add.

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Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration) from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.