Benevolence | Cambridge Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
56 Ratings

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An altogether new and unique creation in the world of beer, Benevolence combines the age-old traditions of Belgian lambic blending, Flanders sour red ales, and barrel-aged English strong ales, with new American ingenuity and a penchant for the bizarre.

Added by Bierman9 on 05-25-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 56 |  Reviews: 28
Reviews by ridedammit:
Photo of ridedammit
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had benevelonce a few times when I was lucky enough to find it on tap
at CBC. But the batch (2001?) at the 17th anniversary was simply
a great brew. A lovely very dark color with a darkish-tan head. The
nose is mainly of raisin or prune, and the taste is very complex, again
with the raising and fig feel. It finishes much like a port, and is an amazingly
drinkable beer. Its one of those once in a lifetime beers, unless Will and crew
have another barrel stowed away somewhere (please oh please).

 516 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one poured a very dark brown in color with a tanned head that barely came up from the tap.

Smell – This aroma is huge. The dark, roasty malts are laden with chocolate and a strong sourness. I can also pick up a lot of tarty fruits.

Taste – The dark chocolate came out even bigger at the taste. It’s really more like a milk chocolate flavor. There are plenty of other sweets in here as well like refined “candy” sugar and grapes and cherries. The bad news is that everything is extremely sour.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied BSDA went back and forth in the mouth from chocolaty sweet to acidicly sour.

Drinkability – This was just a bizarre ale and one of the strangest things I had at the 2004 Belgian Beer Fest. I see a lot of other Belgian-loving BAs like this effort by Cambridge but it just didn’t do it for me.

 854 characters

Photo of Jason
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the AOBF 5/24/03.

Wow. Talk about different. A superb find at the festival. Brand-spanking new, too! "Sour cherries?" you say? Well, my friends, it works. Works damn well. And let's put it in an oak barrel for a few months just add a whole new flavor profile.

Deep, dark brown in color, with a very fizzy and tiny-bubbled head. Aromas are...complex (understatement). Fruit everywhere. Taste is very good, too. Fellow BA AKSmokedPorter and I were enjoying this beer with 3 other attendees and they made me promise to put these 3 words in this review (after the collective laugh they had when I said it): "Wicked fackin' tart!". Tart, indeed. Add the unique flavor imparted by the oak barrels, and the slightly apparent alcohol flavor, and you've got quite the different beer. Certainly the most different beer I've had in a long, long time.

I would love to try this after a bit of aging. I can only imagine how much better it would be. Hats off and glasses raised to another fine CBC beer.

 1,008 characters

Photo of Janeinma
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Jerl
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I must start by saying this style and the raisin notes are not favorites and why the taste score was lower for me. However this is well made, full of flavor and lends perfectly to its barrel aging. Light carbonation, deep wine color and intense aroma. Raisin, chocolate, dates come through in taste.
If you are a fan of the style and these flavor notes this is a must try.

 375 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my 100th review on-tap! mini snifter

A nutty dark brown color, thin and tanned head with only small lacing all around.

the nose has a fruity, sour and wild yeast aroma up-front. solid, thick and sweet malt underneath, dark fruits, dates and raisins and very tart.

the flavor is a very nice wild-yeast complexity that has tangy and sweet dark fruits, wood-aged alcohol effect along side with a very solid malty balance. wonderful complexity for this wild ale, slightly peppery and herbal on the way down. sour-cherry flavor makes this one really refreshing. Oak and vanilla pop out of the malt in a subtle way and the very end bringa a port wine sweetness.

this one has wonderful balance for a wild yeast ale.

 718 characters

Photo of ciderman
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A terrific new offering from CBC, sampled at the Art of Beer Festival in Boston. As this was the first beer I sampled at the session, my recollections of head retention, color, etc. aren't the greatest. I do want to comment on this beer, though, because it was deserving of the "Best in Show" award as far as I am concerned. The taste was a phenomenally complex mix of sweet malt, dark fruits, oak, and subtle hop balance, coupled with a definite alcohol warming that made you want to keep drinking more. The fruit and oak made the brew almost cidery, but with a body and depth that all but the finest and heartiest ciders would be hard-pressed to match. Overall, one of the most unique beers I have tried.

 706 characters

Photo of Kmlund
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of trevorpost
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Franchise
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Note: CBC 17th anniversary aged in a wood barrell brewed in 2001.

Oh my is all I can say...poured a dark black hard to tell in this light whether or not it is pitch black but it is very close leaving a tan head in its wake. The aroma is dark fruits, raisins, figs, nuts, brown sugar, chocolate are all present in the nose.

The taste is syrup thick, nutty, figs, lots of dark fruit with a syrup consistency and a chocolate fudge background. This is the most complex nose, and taste I've ever come across. This brew had to be an experiment, cause who would think of putting all these different flavors together. But they compliment each other so well. And so drinkable at 10%

The nose is as complex as a Belgian ale, with the chocolate hop presence of a stout, and finishing with a tartness of a well crafted sour ale. Could this be, all these flavors combined by a mad scientist, it is true. The only disappointing thing about this beer is that I will never be able to sample this again.

 997 characters

Photo of u2carew
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A) Dark, reddish brown in color. Slightly hazy. Thin head with nice lacing.
S) Robust, syrupy smell similar to port. Earthy aroma combinations include fig and date.
T) Date. Fruity. Some sourness but very minimal. So much going on with the taste its hard to describe.
M) Syrupy. Some chewiness. Thick. Full bodied.
D) WOW - so diverse the taste, but one is enough. Not my style, but it's somebody's.

 399 characters

Photo of Mike
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Patrickbrusil
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is it. On cask at the CBC 22nd birthday party.

Its hard to come to grips with how good this is. It drinks like a creamy quad but with tremendous sour qualities. The dark fruit quad hits first and then flows like a dream to the back of your mouth where the sour taste refreshes and finishes the job. The small wine glass was the perfect size as this is surely to be savored.

This is unlike any pour I've ever experienced and to me it is a pinnacle of what well made beer can be.

 486 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I wouldn't really call this beer an American Wild Ale, it definitely had more in common with a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Pours a dark brown color with a thin tan-ish head, not much in the way of lacing though.

Smell is an aroma punch, huge amounts of candied sugar and malt, tons and tons of dark fruit like raisins and dates, hints of alcohol but that's not much of a shock.

Taste is similar to the aroma with the candied sugar and dark fruit stealing the show, it is quite strong as evident by an alcoholic burn, didn't slow me down one bit though and I enjoyed a couple of these with no problem. I was quite surprised by how much I liked this beer, never heard of it until I tried it, shame I'll probably never try it again :(

 731 characters

Photo of carln26
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with just a hunt of mahogany. No head on this beer. An aroma like fine brandy with hints of cherry and black cherry. The alcohol esthers come through on the nose. Wow again I am remindec of brandy. Sweet fruit, no trace of the hops. A mild bite from the alcohol. No lace. Medium mouth feel. I couldn't Fri k too much of this too much alcohol too sweet.

 363 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ CBC...served in a sniftah...

Very nutty ginger head with murky bourbon/dunkel color. Full-finger head sticks around a while; body is pretty opaque with a little more carbonation than expected. If any beer was meant for a snifter, this is right up at the head of the class.

Sour dates, plums and raisins abound (wild fermentation mentioned, but with the malt profile rolls a little different from your typical Brett) with huge vanilla oak. Almost too much going on-could use time to synergize-but still enjoyable. At the moment I want to age some of this.

In addition to the qualities found on the nose, let's tack on an Aussie "sticky" veneer of muscat and thick dessert wine-not so much sherry, madiera or port. Booze is still a bit hot but in short this is quite enjoyable. Lots of vanilla and bourbon from the oak wreaks a little bit of havoc on the New World Order but it's still pretty damn good.

Palate hits with a little sourness from wild secondary (?) along with a molasses and peach/plum veneer. Finish is pleasantly biting of funk and booze...maybe a little hefty hefty hefty but that's OK.

Again, I would love to taste this in another year. Or 2-3. Hot with vanilla oak but otherwise insane and very enjoyable if not in complete harmony just yet.

 1,272 characters

Photo of gentlebubbles
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amazing stuff!

Served in a snifter brimming with an off-white head over chestnut brown. Smells like scotch whiskey and overripe plums. Even a tiny sample passed around our party had us all marvelling. Hazelnut and plum and currant and vanilla mess around with your tongue and then the alcohol sneaks up behind you and lays a serious buzz on. To be sipped by a roaring fire with a good book and a cat in your lap. It certainly lit a roaring fire inside me on that freezing "spring" afternoon.

 495 characters

Photo of Mikeluzzjr
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of BigOldOaf
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Had a dark burgundy color, almost wine like. Smelled like berries, dark chocolate, a bit of oakiness. The taste? A complex mixture of fruit leather, dark chocolate, like a chocolate covered fruit of some sort, some wine. Rich tannin's, oak and a slight tanginess really dry out your mouth, begging you to take another sip. This beer was phenomenal. Seriously could not detect any of the 13% alcohol in this.

 407 characters

Photo of Cath
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of cheapxceptbeer
2.68/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Not interested in formal review here, this is the excess of american craft brewing I could do without, even in the description it sounded ridiculous. 4 yeast strains, 12 types of malt, aged hops, belgian candi sugar, young and old ales being mixed, while this is a vague stereotype of the beer, it has too much going on. While the excessive work on this brew seems to take out the alcohol flavors, the other flavors are so overpowering this might as well have had a hot alcoholic bite. I have enjoyed raisin and date flavors before in beer, but this is just too intense, this isn't sophisticated, this is excess.

 612 characters

Photo of taez555
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter, this beer poured a translucent ruby brown body with a tan head that at first starts large but eventually completely disappears.

The nose on this baby says it all. PORT!!!! Seriously, if you didn’t know this was beer and somebody blindfolded you and asked you what it was you’d probably say port. Very strong dark fruit, plums, dates, raisins, PORT, a tart fruit, alcohol smell. Quite an interesting mix of fruit smells.

The taste was right along the same lines. Lots of intense fruits like plums, dark cherries and raisins with a very sugary brown sugar and molasses type tart sweetness. You can really taste the candy sugar in this baby. A soft subtle caramel and chocolate malt with a woody oak note are overshadowed by the big fruit flavors.

Quite an interesting beer. Honestly I’ve never been crazy about it, but it’s really growing on me. A beer that is just screaming to be paired with food. A must try, especially at the end of a nice CBC meal with some dessert.

 1,003 characters

Photo of driftlessbrewin
5/5  rDev +15.5%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Benevolence from Cambridge Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 56 ratings