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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year) - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

114 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 114
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 9.71%
Wants: 425
Gots: 21 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

2008. A few (aged) cases were released in 2010.

(Beer added by: Floydster on 02-02-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 114 | Reviews: 58 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

t0rin0, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

zestar, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of spycow
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

spycow, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to nerd for providing this at the post-Christmas tasting in Chicago. Served in my Cantillon tulip. Like others have said, this one was far and away the best of the "Pappy barrel" blind tasting we had. Unwaxed bottle from the 2nd release.

Pours near black with a very thin tan head without too much retention. Given the age, I won't complain too much. Looks pretty good, all things considered. The nose is pretty impressive with a really nice aroma that I've come to know as that coming from Pappy barrels. Really great bourbon character here. A bit of sweetness and chocolate there as well.

The taste is right up there with it. Amazing bourbon presence coming from the Pappy as well as a fantastic chocolate character and a nice amount of sweetness. Some mild roast sitting there in the background. Really quite smooth. The mouthfeel is where this really hit high gear with me--some booze but this is incredibly smooth and the barrel character is fantastic. Really incredibly smooth and drinkable all around. Thanks again, Mike.

Thorpe429, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I traded dearly for this one. I had heard it was top notch and I was expecting it to be as such. Luckily I was no where near disappointed with what I was presented with. Served at cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/16/2009. Bottle number 100 from the 2008 vintage.



Dark as night, black as an abyss, and this thing looked evil as it came out of the bottle. No light penetrating through at all, nothing, with a big head of two inches of chocolate foam on the top of it. Faded down gently leaving behind nothing more then sticky, very sticky webbing along the sides and tons of chocolate goop. The aroma may well have been one of the best I have ever come across, if not the best. Reminded me of BA Speedway in its thick bourbon, and vanilla notes. Just layer after layer of molasses and vanilla, sooo inviting and perfect. As I leaned in for a sip, rich waves of chocolate malts, molasses, light tobacco notes and seething vanilla just coat the tongue like a warm blanket. So smooth and delicious, this was your classic big barrel aged stout. A little bit light on the feel for me as I would have liked it to come across a bit thicker, but still another here to disappoint in any way. Super sippable, but it made for a one bottle night.



Overall an instant classic for me and something I was thrilled to be able to have I would have to tell you to go seek this one out as quickly as you can, it is really just that good.

mikesgroove, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.83/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An enormous round of thanks to Jeff for breaking this one open at Sour Fest. I've wanted to try this one for a long time.

A: The pour is black is night and menacingly viscous. The head is about a finger's worth of dense tan/brown foam.

S: The nose is what you expect from a great barrel aged imperial stout. Rich and smooth chocolate, a hint of vanilla, maple syrup, graham cracker, and soft notes of roasted malt.

T: The flavor is even better. Lots of semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla, dark and overripe fruits, bourbon, and a hint of maple syrup. This is decadence in a bottle.

M: The body is thick and full, but not overly heavy or syrupy. Subtle carbonation that works almost perfectly.

D: This beer was just way too easy to drink. Absolutely wonderful flavor to it and no discernible alcohol/heat at all.

womencantsail, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

JAHMUR, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.88/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was shared by jh1982 and Jmoore50 - thank you, guys. This is from one of the original 2008 bottlings, not the more recent one. I've had this on tap a few times before, but this is my first taste from a bottle.

Black with ruby red highlights, a small collar of foam forms from the light carbonation. This is a beautiful imperial stout, not too oily or thick, but very inviting.

It has an outstanding aroma, like a licorice-infused chocolate truffle drizzled with caramel. There's noticeable bourbon too, but it's balanced rather than overpowering, along with hints of vanilla and dark, earthy fruit.

The palate is exceptionally mellow, displaying plenty of complex with no trace of alcohol or heat. Bittersweet chocolate flavors meet caramel and vanilla from the barrel, with undertones of black licorice and coconut. It's not terribly viscous, nor is it thin, and it's only carbonated enough to scrub the palate slightly. The finish is fruity, chocolatey, lightly tannic and bittersweet, almost vinous.

As good as this is right now, it's hard to say where this beer will go in the future. I'm inclined to say that it's pretty much at a peak and won't improve from here, because there's really nothing to improve, no heat or harshness remains. If you have a bottle, now is a safe time to drink it. I have my doubts that it will still be this good in a year.

largadeer, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Kegatron, Oct 13, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
4.83/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to jhenry04 for this one. I tried multiple ISOs before he hooked me up. Shared at Derek's insane tasting, and definitely one of the highlights of the evening.

A - Looks a lot like the Czar Jack consumed beforehand. A hint of transparent brown at the fringes of an otherwise black body. Dark mocha foam that slowly dissipates to a thin cap and ring, and leaves some patchy lacing.

S - Full of earthy barrel, dark fruits, smoke, caramel, vanilla, and maple. You can definitely tell this is a high-end bourbon barrel in use, as this is rich in flavor and low in booze or harshness. Let this one warm to get the full impact of all the flavors.

T - The taste is even better than the smell, with a superb balance of sweetness, wood, Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, and all the aforementioned flavors from the nose. The sweetness is definitely in the maple and caramel realm rather than the typical chocolate flavors and I think it works well to keep the beer from becoming to bitter or harsh. This is a reference quality barrel-aged stout.

M - Medium-thick body that is more than sufficient for the 9.5% ABV. Lightly tannic, and also sticky and chewy. Lower carbonation, but still lively.

D - I am depressed that this beer is going to be almost impossible to acquire again, and isn't one of the announced 2010 offerings from FiftyFifty. Among a utterly spectacular lineup of beers that included Yellow Bus, M, Dirty Horse, and Zhukov's Final Push this was "best in show" for me.

MasterSki, May 24, 2010
Photo of oline73
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was in a bottle with pink wax signed by the brewer. Served in a tasting snifter.

The beer pours a dark, almost black color with not much head at all. There isn't much carbonation but that seemed appropriate. The first thing I notices was how intense the bourbon flavor still was after over 4 years. There wasn't much alcohol heat at all, but the bourbon flavor was intense and wonderful. The sweetness from the malt compliments the pappy barrel and there is some dark fruit and mild chocolate in the mix as well. The beer smelled almost as good as it tasted. I would love to have more, but I'm not sure I'll have the chance. This was a real treat.

oline73, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

mendvicdog, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 04/30/11 notes. Got to try this at Dark Lord Day thanks to the ever generous Sean9689. After seeing Geist's review, it looks like this bottle was thanks to nerd; huge thanks man, next time we meet I owe you a beer.

a - Pours a thick, pitch black color with only a few bubbles of tan head and light carbonation evident. Not overly impressive looking, but good none the less.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, rich milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted malts, light fruit, and light vanilla. I've had a few PVW aged beers where I didn't think the higher quality barrels really shone through, but having had the EW and 4 Roses version of Eclipse, this one was really outstanding. Amazing nose.

t - Tastes of bourbon, milk chocolate, oak, vanilla from the oak, roasted malts, caramel/toffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, and maybe some light coffee. Again, really great; an amazing tasting stout.

m - Medium to full bodied stout on the full size, and low carbonation. Thick and chewy, very smooth and nice for a stout. Not a lot of alcohol warmth.

o - Overall I thought this was an amazing stout. I love the 3 Eclipse stouts I've tried so far, but this one was the best. Very glad I was able to try it and would love to again sometime.

mdfb79, May 10, 2011
Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +10.4%

imperialking, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of yourefragile
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

yourefragile, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of corby112
4.95/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes:

Original, non-waxed version. Received this in a trade with ipa247 before I even heard of the brewery. I thought with all of the talk lately I would finally enter my review.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a light source and a half finger dark mocha head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

The nose of this beer is very complex with lots of bourbon as well as some earthy oak, vanilla and dark roasted malt. The barrel aging has done wonders to this beer, giving off a beautiful bourbon/spirit aroma that is balanced by the oak and vanilla notes. The aroma of the base beer is still evident however with hints of chocolate malt, roasted espresso/coffee bean, burnt toast, rye, smoke and oatmeal. I was expecting this to be a complete booze bomb but it smells amazing. Hopefully it lives up to the aroma.

Chewy, slightly viscous medium body with an excellent balance of bourbon, oak, vanilla, silky chocolate and roasted malt. The bourbon is prominent up front, slightly sweet and lingers throughout into a slightly warm finish but it is perfectly countered by a silky chocolate malt backbone with hints of roasted coffee, toffee, rye, caramel and oaky vanilla notes from the barrel. This beer is incredibly complex and all of the flavors perfectly balance each other out, making it incredibly smooth and dangerously quaffable. Again, I was expecting a booze bomb but the spirit presence is just prominent enough and the dark malt, silky chocolate, oak and vanilla combo is perfect. I can't say enough about how awesome this beer is.

I've had a ton of barrel aged beers and along with Kaggen! this is one of the best I've sampled. The only thing keeping this from a 5.0 rating is the appearance. The head is small and fades quickly without any lacing but otherwise this beer is perfect. This beer actually lives up to the hype and I wish I had another bottle. Anyone want to trade?

corby112, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of stakem
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 unwaxed bomber poured into a matching Eclipse snifter. The brew appears black in color and still looking with no head. As it warms up and is swirled, some large brown bubbles collect around the edge of the glass. No real head/lacing effect other than the clear legs of alcohol that droop down the side of the glass.

The smell includes notes of wood and spicy bourbon. Some raw oak and raisin-like fruit character. More sniffs reveal a deeper sence of dark fruit like dates/plum mixed with soft roasted grain and chocolate to vanilla that was extracted from the oak during the aging. It is mildly tangy and spicy with alcohol across the back.

The taste is unmistakeable boozy and slightly spiced pappy bourbon. Mid-palate are flavors of chocolate covered raisons and some earthen oak notes. There is a slight oxidative quality to this that lingers with a musty oak quality that layers the flavors and does not distract like oxidation sometimes can.

This is a medium bodied brew with a very low amount of carbonation. This really is a stellar offering that is a boozy sipper. Having now consumed nearly every Eclipse barrel treatment/blend with the exception of some of the newest ones, I can firmly state this is a standout. I cant wait to try this again side by side with the 20 year when it gets released.

stakem, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of duceswild
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

duceswild, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by nerd. Thanks Michael!

Served in my Darkness tulip before Paul, in his infinite sense of entitlement, broke the goddamn thing. The beer is near black, with a thin, tan head that hangs out briefly before leaving a few random spots of lacing behind. The aroma is very inviting, with bourbon and roast at the forefront. The beer tastes wonderful, is well balanced, and full of flavor. The feel is exceptional, and is silky smooth on the palate, though not as big or full bodied as I might have expected. Terrific feel nonetheless. The PVW barrels shine through brilliantly. This is so easy to drink. Overall, a terrific barrel-aged stout, and one I would really enjoy having again...and again.

Huhzubendah, May 06, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Gonzoillini, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ah Christmas dinner, some tbones and king crab, time to bust out an uber premium bottle. Weary of how this will go with the crab.

Pours jet cherry cola black, cherry cola coming from the appearance of the foam after a pour, which is minimal and caused me a little concern. Aroma, obvious aging in some hard liquor barrel. Aside from the label information, the sweetness of that aroma leaves one with a rudimentary experience with bourbon knowing what they are smelling. Elements of coconut in this one, very nice all around in the nose

Taste, very delicous. The only downside of this was the tendency of persons to oversimplify the nuanced flavors as simply "tastes like a Jack and coke." Do I understand how one could say this? Yes. Is it accurate? No. There's so much more going on with this beer. Licorice, maybe some vanilla bean complimenting the usual chocolate notes in a stout.

Mouthfeel, key is to drink this with a meal, or slowly. Went so well with a piece of the portabella mushroom and steak. Crab, wasn't bad, but wasn't meant to go with a Bourbon Imperial Stout.

Surprisingly drinkable if you're into the beer. Another sampler passed on his share, and I jumped on it, so warming.

Beerandraiderfan, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

7/30/2010

Shared by Jeff at Sour Fest 2010, but it was a bit hectic so I was unable to review it, thanks though. This review is from a bottle purchased from City Beer Store a few months back. 2008 vintage, the only vintage, poured into a snifter. The beer is impenetrable black with a one inch silky dark brown head.

The aroma is a beautiful blend of brown sugar, bourbon, maple, dark chocolate, sugar cookie dough, and oak. It's very well balanced and incredibly expressive, one of the best aromas I've beheld on a beer of this style. Light vanilla notes are evident with further warming. There's a light booze sting in my nostrils when I plant my nose deep in the glass and inhale. Exceptional.

Booze, oak, bourbon, and chocolate define the opening. Sweetness picks up midpalate with notes of brown sugar and vanilla. The beer possesses a moderate, and desirable, level of booze heat. This is lovely...lovely! There's a nice and prominent bourbon presence. Light baker's chocolate notes harmonize with oak. The decadent finish displays caramel with lingering chocolate, bourbon, and booze. There's a shade of roasted character.

The mouthfeel is full, creamy, and silky. In a word: perfection. This is one of the best Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts I've ever had. I enjoyed this side by side with the 2009 Heaven Hill Rye, which is an excellent beer in its own right, but juxtaposed alongside the Pappy it was clearly inferior (though still a bit young). Seek this out! This was delicious with a sharp cheddar cheese.

HopHead84, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust vanilla, moderate butterscotch, and smooth bourbon. Backing everything up is a solid roasted malt backbone with good amounts of rich dark chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though the bourbon influence is not quite as large. Smooth roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of dark chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the flavors become more boozy with the addition of vanilla, light bourbon, and lighter oak. Finally, very slight hints of butterscotch make a brief appearance before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very smooth thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall this was another phenomenal beer from 50/50 but I enjoy the Heaven Hill better, albeit by a small margin. After having all four it's HH>PvW>EC>JD. Big thanks to Grant for procuring all of these and bringing them in to share.

glid02, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at a post-Christmas tasting in Chicago, courtesy of nerd (thanks Mike!). From what I heard this is from the 2nd release, a 22oz bottle with no wax.

We actually tried this blind against 2 other PVW aged stouts (BCS Rare and 2010 ORF). It was easy to tell the differences, as BCS Rare had an unmistakable BCS taste and ORF was, well, a noncompetitor. The PVW Eclipse was my favorite, with BCS Rare right behind it.

It poured opaque black, nearly zero foam. It could be that it was poured too gently, but there was very little carbonation so I'd guess that's why there was no foam.

It smells really spectacular, the bourbon is a leading aroma without taking over. Beyond that is a sweet stout, nearly a rich milk stout, cocoa and light roast. I love the nose, this is really rich and refined at the same time.

It tastes just as good, this is undeniably one of the better BA stouts I've tried. Cocoa and malt and mellowed out bourbon, delicious. No heat at all, one good defining point for this beer vs BCS and its derivatives.

Creamy and full, despite the lack of carbonation this has a substantial body. Very good in every way, so glad to have tried it.

TurdFurgison, Dec 30, 2010
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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.