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Totality Imperial Stout - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Totality Imperial StoutTotality Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

155 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 155
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.15%
Wants: 30
Gots: 9 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
formerly Roundabout Imperial Stout

(Beer added by: GClarkage on 10-22-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 155 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of womencantsail
2.3/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Blue Palms

A: The beer pours almost black with a very small tan head to go with it.

S: First thing I pick up on is a distinct sourness. Acrid, roasted malts and coffee follow, as well as a mild char. There is a light chocolate aroma with a slight molasses and toffee sweetness.

T: A very sight sweetness to start, but the sourness and acridity of the roast follow shortly behind. There is a mild cocoa note as well as some coffee. A touch of molasses and licorice.

M: The body is sort of light and watery for an imperial stout. Medium carbonation, however.

O: Really disappointing as I was looking forward to trying this, given my enjoyment of the barrel aged versions.

Photo of Halcyondays
2.65/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours a super dark brown with a mild white head. Solid retention and lace.

S: Not that much, a bit of roast and baker's chocolate. A bit acrid.

T: Baker's chocolate, not a lot of sweetness to this brew. Some dark fruit, but it is fairly bland, not exciting me.

M: Medium-bodied, dry for sure. Frothy, soft carbonation.

O: I thought it'd be fun to try the base beer for the Eclipses and see how it'd compare. It was an interesting experience, but this brew just wasn't doing it for me. The barrel aging is clearly necessary as it's hard for this beer to stand on it's own when there's so many great examples of the style out there.

Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -31.9%

Photo of aasher
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of alexhahn82
3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Large bubbly foam, not really what I would call head, possibly a glass that had some water in the bottom prior to pouring? Dark burgundy color.

S - SMOKEY... and thats about it.

T/M - SMOKEY!!! Crazy smoke with a slightly coffee like kick in flavor with a semi sweet finish, almost bitter chocolate finish.

O - A damn good high octane Imperial Stout with and impossible to find (in a good way) 9.5% ABV. Seek, but not necessarily destroy.

PP (Price Point) - $6.75 for a pint... Yes Please!

Photo of Thorpe429
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.34/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the base beer for the Imperial Eclipse series. I've never seen this beer in the US and lo and behold there it was sitting at Tanakaya in Japan. Needless to say, I was surprised. 22oz. bomber into a pint glass. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 2.5 finger frothy mocha colored head with great retention. Beer is pitch black but a bit thin. Lacing is layered with good stick and moderately oily legs. Really a good looking beer.

Nose is honey, plums, figs, chocolate, and roast. Moderately aromatic. Decent.

Opens sweet burnt malt, liquorice, chocolate, and prunes. Some chocolate serves to balance things out a bit but there's a ton of dark fruit and liquorice in the middle. More roast and honey in the middle to end with no hint of real bitterness or body to balance things out and add depth. Ends honey and chocolate. Aftertaste of roast and more dark fruit and honey. Not bad but pretty meh overall.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Prickly and foamy in the mouth and goes down bubbly and warm. Messy finish with a sticky, lingering aftertaste. Too thin.

This beer is a real testament to the power of barrels sometimes. The Imperial Eclipse series, with few exceptions are all very solid beers. Totality on the other hand is the definition of average. The body is way to thin to support the flavors happening here and there's just not of complexity or continuity to the flavor. This wasn't really worth the try.

Photo of jmccraney
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of JohnParadee
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of lballstar
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of tbone1384
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of dfhhead25
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of CoryR
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of jp312
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of cmgage
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of pmarlowe
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of 2GOOFY
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of stakem
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being a fan of the barrel aged treatments of this brew, I was anxious to get a chance to try this raw, uncut version of the base. Thanks to BA anotherjoe for making this happen dueing one of our exchanges. Poured from a bomber into an eclipse snifter. The brew appears black in color with a thin brown to ruby clarity around the edges. A rich tan finger slowly fades to a film leaving patchy lace on the glass.

The aroma includes notes of raisin, plums, molasses and hints of citrus mixed with minerals and earth. A suggestion of stale coffee blends into more of a deep earthen and roast aspect like tobacco.

The flavor is quite bitter with a hint of unsweetned baker's chocolate, stale coffee, raisins, and tobacco. Almost a bitter tannic oak aspect even though this isnt barrel aged. It is earthy with a mineral component that isnt entirely enjoyable coupled with a bit too much focus on bitter herbal hops. There is a lot of char goin on in this brew to really drive home the bitter and aggressive flavoring.

This is a medium to lighter bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is interesting to say the least. I can see why this is a good candidate for barrel aging. It is a little rough around the edges that surely gets blended and smoothed out with some aging. Overall I gotta admit, on it's own it is a little harsh and not something I would revisit. However, tossing this in barrels really transforms it into something special. Fans of the eclipse series owe it to themselves to seek this out for comparison.

Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

base beer for the Fiftyfifty IS series, on tap at The Blue Palm. Very dry. A small retained head on a very dark body. So-so drinkability as very roasty and a bit astringent. Roasty aroma. Thick lace. Good for the style, but not great. Have to get by the dryness.

Photo of Rifugium
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

This was a decent beer, but considering how good the barrel-aged versions are, I was a bit let down by this one. As far as appearance goes, this one really can't be beat: served in a snifter, a dark, opaque, brown-black, with an overflowing, creamy head that looked like melted chocolate ice cream. No problem giving a perfect 5 for that. Aroma is pretty standard for a stout, dark roasty malts and bakers' chocolate. Taste was similar, roast conquers all, dark malts, slightly bitter chocolate, caramel, nutshells, and distant dark fruits. This beer needs to be aged on bourbon barrels, essentially. It's almost like it's literally incomplete without it. Body is on the heavier side of medium, and still fairly smooth. Not bad by any means, but compared to the Eclipses, it just doesn't stack up.

Photo of kojevergas
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Really excited for this one. I'm making a point of trying this before the Eclipse beers just for a point of reference. Acquired for $14.00 at a local bottle shop. 9.5% ABV according to my bottle. No best before/bottled on date is visible. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing artful label and standard unbranded pry-off cap served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a healthy half-finger head of lovely stick smooth complexion; great vibrance to the colour on this one, I mean it fucking shines. Lovely creaminess. Good thickness. Nice frothiness. Supple and luscious. Really looking great. Nice even consistent lacing as the head recedes. Quite a nice head. The retention could be better, but it's quite good for the ABV - about 3-4 minutes.

Body colour is an opaque solid dark black. Not quite a jet black, but quite dark. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Right on the money for the style, with an attractive head. Quite inviting. Can't wait to try it.

Sm: Chocolate, dried grape/raisin, burnt caramel, light molasses, licorice/anise (which I can't personally stand in an imperial stout), milky notes, cream, light buried (much to my chagrin) roast, and some lightly acrid coffee. Cocoa powder. Some buried vanilla. Dark malts, chocolate malt, maybe some caramalt. No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol is detectable. On the sweeter side. Light earthiness wafts off the body. A pleasant aroma of mild strength. Not exemplary for the style, but overall it's appealing.

T: Hm. Some light earthiness and acridity towards the back end. Tolerable licorice as an undertone throughout. The body is comprised mainly of chocolate malt and dark malts. Body is pretty meh overall. No yeast character or hop character comes through. What shocks me is how well it hides its ABV; drinks more like 6-7% than 9.5. Some marshmallow. Not getting any roastiness - either from roasted barley or from the coffee - which is itself mainly bitter but not overly so. Chocolate isn't very evocative; more baker's or brewer's chocolate than a silky milk chocolate. Some cocoa dust, sure. A biteen of vanilla, but it's mostly covered by the somewhat heavy handed malty base. Very very light restrained espresso. Some cookie dough notes. Not getting any dark fruits or anything like that.

Overall, it's messy but enjoyable. Not much balance or subtlety here, but there's a lot going on - even if it does feel haphazardly tossed together.

Depth and intensity of flavour are average. Duration of flavour is also pretty average for the style.

I didn't notice honey when going through my initial review blind. When I read the label and search for it, I do find it, but I'm not convinced it really improves the beer.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Some nice creaminess. Unrefreshing. Good thickness; it's not overbearing or viscous like many beers in the style. Suits the flavour profile nicely, but doesn't come off custom-tailored specificially to it. Good carbonation. Pretty full-bodied. Sticky. Nicely soft. Not oily, harsh, biting, or gushed. Good presence on the palate.

The rolling smoothness is quite good for the style; I'm curious if they don't brew this with oats?

Dr: Barrel aging must really even this out if the Eclipse series is so well regarded. I'm interested to see what happens to this base with barrels; that's quite convenient since I have the Elijah Craig 12 year on hand. An interesting brew from FiftyFifty, but I'm not convinced it's worth the price. It's drinkable, though, especially for the high ABV which is well concealed. I see potential in this, but I'm doubting I'm going to love Eclipse. The barrel aging would have to really develop and complement this base to make a great beer. I definitely wouldn't buy this again at its current price; maybe for $7.00-$8.00 a bottle.

I'm unsure what to make of it overall. Regarding it aside from the obvious relationship to its famous barrel aged grandpas, I still think it's pretty good stuff. But it does seem strangely neutral and noncommittal to its flavours; I feel like it was brewed with an eye towards barrel aging it, and as a result it's nowhere near as rich or evocative as it could (should?) be.

The acridity and earthiness fade substantially as it warms, leaving a more enjoyable brew.

Drank fine out of a stem-tulip, but a snifter or teku would be ideal methinks.

High B

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Totality Imperial Stout from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 155 ratings.