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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.
very good

35 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 35
Hads: 136
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 9.41%
Wants: 27
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration) Alström Bros
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 136
Photo of jmfc8237
4.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes : Poured at the pickled pig beer dinner in Rehoboth beach tonight. Appearance was a hazy golden amber with champagne like ferocious carbonation. Silky layer of laced head covers the top like a frosting. Mild lacing with no legs and head retention was nothing to speak of. Smells strongly of acid and sour apples. Bright notes of farmhouse funk and grapes are evident amongst the Brett yeast strain. Taste is dry and entertaining but lacks the sour finish I was expecting. Hay and spice make everything nice with a hint of cedar wood.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
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!

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

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Photo of larryi86
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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

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Photo of russwbeck
4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
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

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of BeerThursdays
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Orange in color with a ton of head. Almost over poured not remembering how carbonated this one can be.

S - Nice sweet smell with some oak and funk. Some of the sweeter fruites in there. Grapes, apples and others that you would expect from a Chardonay(ed?) beer.

T - Really dig this part. The wine comes through almost immediately, and then you get a bit of the graininess from the brew. Finishes with a good amount of funk, but nothing over the top.

M - Lots of carbonation, and a bit dryness. Light bodied.

O - Best beer Evo has done in the series. Lots of flavors, and hopefully it will just get better.

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Photo of sweetcell
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of pwoody11
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
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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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of Florida9
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1275th Review on BA
Bottle to HF Stem

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.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of Jason
4.08/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Poucher86
4.08/5  rDev +1%
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

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Photo of SlothB77
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle Fall '11 batch #47 of 1350. Poured into a Lost Abbey Stemmed Snifter

A: Pours a really pretty yellowish orange. Two fingers of bright white head. Beautiful pour. Lots of carbonation. Bubbles streaming off the bottoms of glass. Lots of sticky lacing left in glass.

S: Smells really nice: funk, Brett, white grapes, green apples. Some of that belgian yeast is behind the others.

T: Really nice sip. You get a little sour on the tip of the tongue. Not like a lambic or Kriek or another. Just a note that lets you know the Brett is there. Middle of the mouth you get a little of the Chard barrel and the buttery notes. Really smooths it. You still get the white grape and apple flavors. The alcohol is hidden extremely well.

M: Medium bodied with dry finish.

O: I have to go A- on this one. Really enjoy the flavors. I wish it was a little more sour, but they really did a great job here.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
4/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Ale (Fall Migration) from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.