Menagerie #8 | Evolution Craft Brewing Company

very good
11 Reviews
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Menagerie #8Menagerie #8

Brewed by:
Evolution Craft Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by duceswild on 10-31-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 60
Photo of maximum12
2.86/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to damienblack for this bottle, the last survivor of a fall-time trade. Big 22 oz. bottle that would be very difficult to stuff in your pockets & smuggle into a Twins game. Split with my wife (who picked it out).

The pour is obnoxiously carbonated, billowing at the slightest provocation, & I have to pause at the halfway point. The beer, what I can see of it, is dark, arterial-blood red. Nose is rife with wine barrel, strong Belgian yeasts, & a healthy dose of sugar cane.

Menagerie #8 isn't twisting my nipples. Whatever subtleties are noted on the label are drowned in candied sugar, rabid carbonation, & yeastiness. Might be a few wine notes in here; hard to tell amidst the overbearing opening. Tartness that might be the wine, or an impending infection, right on the end. Half a bomber? Put it on my honey-chore list.

Glancing through the other reviews, it's hard to believe this is the same beer. I didn't know this was released a year ago, but something has gotten into it. Doesn't even rise to average; my first disappointment from a good brewery.

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Photo of DIM
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

a: Very dark mahogany, pours wirh a thick, uneven head.

s : Pleasant but kind of subdued. The wine barrel plays a very prominent role; with vinous chocolate, leather, and tobacco. I also found some candi sugar sweetness and floral alcohol.

t: Definitely wine barrel first and foremost. Vinous and tart with chocolety leather, some non-grape dark fruits, a little sugar, and lingering oaky-tobacco heat. I'm really liking the chocolate in this one.

m: Kind of abrasively fizzy.

o: I liked this one for sure. I might have liked it better as 50% aged in wine barrels kind of beer. Absolutely unique and memorable.

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

A: This poured a nearly opaque cola with tons of thick light tan head.
S: It smelled like tannic red wine grapes and metallic oak, with some sweet wild honey and toffee and dates and sourdough.
T: It tasted like sweet wild honey and dates and earthy toffee, with some tannic red grapes and dry oak and a bit of sourdough and nutty malt. It had a clean sweet and tart aftertaste.
M: It was thick with a little smooth natural carbonation. Beautiful refined body.
D: This was a very nice and unique BSDA, with well executed wine barrel aging. The scent and taste were very complex and enjoyable, and the body was nearly perfect. The finish was fairly smooth, with well hidden alcohol, so it was pretty easy to drink but worth sipping. Not sure how it would age, but I really enjoyed it fresh. Well done, Evo!

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Photo of Immortale25
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Signature Snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a towering three inch head that soon crumbles bearing bumps and crags on its way down to a 1/4 inch head. Not so resilient streaks of lacing.

S- Sweet, somewhat effervescent aroma of Belgian yeast and candi sugar.

T- Sharp flavor of mildly roasted malt combined with the sweet candi sugar. Strong, but I wouldn't go so far as to say boozy although it is noticeable. Smooth and drinkable, but not overly complex, especially for a barrel-aged Belgian. There are some woody notes but nothing too apparent.

M- I think it's the medium-high carbonation that gives the drink such a kick. Mostly full body and a somewhat chalky feel.

O- Pretty much a standard BSDA. Was hoping for a bit more since I've loved previous entries in the Menagerie series.

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Photo of John_M
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was at State Line the other day, and was pleasantly surprised to see on the shelf.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with red hilights. Head retention was very good, with considerable stickly lacing as well. The nose was very impressive as well. The label indicates that the beer is aged in red wine barrels, the that's definitely what you get on the nose. There is a considerable wine aroma, along with dark fruits, vanilla and light chocolate. The flavor profile replicates the nose, with the wine flavor imparting a slight sour flavor. This beer reminds me a bit of the always excellent BFM Bon Chien beers, though it's not quite as complex or sour. On the other hand, the moderate sweetness in this beer is countered very nicely by the light sour wine flavor, and the finish was long and complex. Mouthfeel was medium bodied to full, and I thought the alcohol was very well integrated into the flavor profile (no heat or heaviness on the finish).

A very good beer from Evolution, and it was a beer that seemed to open up more and more as the beer warmed (the wine flavor was a bit less pronounced, and I got more dark fruit, vanilla, dark chocolate, and even some light licoris). Very nicely done.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: opaque black beer in a chalice glass with a slim head of tan foam

S: some merlot-esque wine notes, some light burnt sugar malt

T: barrel aging beer in wine barrels is going to ensure a beer/wine hybrid, and that is what you get here - the red wine flavors of cherry, berry, currant, and dark grape are all present, and for me, initially somewhat more dominant than the candi sugar and honey and malts of the beer; as the beer warmed, I thought the beeriness became more apparent, but this was never a hoppy or bitter brew.

M: medium-to-thin - again, had a red wine feel (like a merlot/cabernet sauvignon blend), some tartness (which was more equitably attributable to the beer as much as the wine barrel-aging).

O: I have two strikes against me in reviewing this beer: one is that I am not a big wine drinker, and two is that I have a handful of BSDAs I like (quads excluded - I love those!), but would otherwise probably not rank it among my favorite styles. That said, this was a very interesting and enjoyable drink - probably would've been great accompanying any food you would pair with red wine - and another example of the good work Evolution is doing with barrel-aged products. I'm not a big fan of Chimay Blue, but respect it as a stout representative of the style, and with that in mind, I would say that this beer reminded me somewhat of what a red wine-barrel aged Chimay might taste like. If you like the Chimay and similar BSDAs, this beer will no doubt please you.

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Photo of melliott
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap, from a snifter at the brewery in Salisbury, MD.

It's if a full-bodied beer, with a complex flavor. The big surprise was the finish, which I expected to slightly burn considering the alcohol content. Instead it was smooth, almost watery. Dangerous!

The nose is chocolate, and somewhat floral.
The taste is similar to a mix of their porter and esb, but has some separation.
Finished the beer with their brisket sandwich w/ root beer sauce - which meshed nicely, too.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz snifter
Deer Park, Newark, DE

A: Pours a really dark chestnut color. Fairly dark. Initially a thin layer of slightly tan head. Some lacing bits and alcohol feet for sure on this big beer.

S: Getting lots of vinous notes on nose. Lots of that wine barrel character. Sweet candied sugar, molasses, some toffee hints too.

T: Sweet malts. Wine hints. Candied sugar. Dry finish. Long lingering flavor surrounds the mouth.

M: It's a full bodied mouth coating beer.

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Photo of larryi86
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into tulip

A- Black with a four finger tab head.

S- Red wine, oak, tart, hints of raspberry and cherry, sweet, balanced.

T- Red wine is the first thing that I notice, I am getting floral and honey notes, alcohol, tart fruits, some chocolate, complex, barrel forward but still balanced.

M- Smooth, medium to full body, lots of carbonation.

O- A solid beer that worked well with the wine barrel. Gets better as it warms. I have had this on tap also, and felt it was better, less carbonation and had a little more chocolate. Excited to see how this ages. Another fine beer from Evolution.

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Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Max's during Baltimore beer week. Served in a tasting glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a dark mahogany color with some red at the edges when the light hits. There is a ring of creamy tan head around the pour.

Smell: Sweet malt with some mild molasses. There is a red wine note mixed in with the sweetness along with some grapes and a slight note that reminds me of soy sauce.

Taste: Less tart than the smell. Red wine and lots of dark fruit and dark malt sweetness. There is a flavor in there that reminds me of grape jelly. The finish is mildly warm in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with full, foamy carbonation and a finish that's a bit dry.

Overall: I thought this was a very different strong dark beer. The wine and malt blend together nicely, but the beer manages not to be overly sweet. I'd have more in the future.

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Photo of duceswild
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap during Baltimore Beer Week and also at an Evolution event.

Beer pours a dark plum color with a little cloudiness. Lacing on the glass is a cream color. The smell is where this beer is coming through. Smells of sweet red grapes, with some oak, and candied sugar. Taste continues with these scents and compliments it well. During the taste I felt that the notes I was getting was similar to a Cabernet. As the beer warms more of the wonderful complex flavors from this beer come out. Moderate carbonation through out the mouthfeel. Both times I had this beer, the ABV was listed differently. Once at 9.1% and once at 9.5%. Regardless of the final ABV, it is somewhat well hidden though you know this is a higher ABV beer from tasting it.

Overall, I really liked this beer and will seek it out in the future.

The beer menu notes on this beer say it's a Dark Belgian Strong w/ Belgian Candi Sugar, Wildflower Honey aged in Syrah, Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Merlot Oak Barrels.

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Menagerie #8 from Evolution Craft Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 60 ratings.
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