Totality Imperial Stout - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 143 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
3.73/5 rDev -8.1%
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.
01-22-2012 06:01:39 | More by Sammy
3.85/5 rDev -5.2%
On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles, CA as part of the FiftyFifty Eclipse Release Party.
Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch khaki head that fades to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some vanilla aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, bitter cocoa, and some vanilla notes. A mild roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a dry finish. Overall, this is a good stout by itself but I prefer the barrel aged versions much more.
12-18-2011 04:35:34 | More by UCLABrewN84
2.3/5 rDev -43.3%
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.
08-15-2011 05:01:18 | More by womencantsail
4.5/5 rDev +10.8%
On tap at FiftyFifty, served in a brandy snifter.
Black with a dense mocha head that shows strong retention and sticky lacing, this is a great looking beer.
Licorice and espresso are prominent on the nose. Chocolate fudge and cookie dough lend some sweetness, but this is more of a bitter, earthy imperial stout.
The first sip makes me think of chocolate covered coffee beans. Further imbibing brings out licorice, charred malt, firm bitterness both from dark malt and hops. Medium in body, not particularly sweet. The finish is heavily roasted, quite bitter and sticky. With this as a base beer I can see why Eclipse is so good.
12-04-2010 20:53:51 | More by largadeer
4.1/5 rDev +1%
Growler shared by yourefragile, thanks! Provides a valuable comparison with the other BA Eclipses. Really appreciate it. Served in a FiftyFifty glass.
Beer is dark brown / black with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, low retention, moderate to low carbonation.
Beer has a mixtures of sweet and roasty aroma, smells pretty good.
Beer is medium in body and mildly sweet up front, a little earthy in the middle and REALLY bitter on the end with the roast, seriously strong on the end, wow...really strong. Did I mention the bitterness from the roast? While it is strong it is not overpowering. I did enjoy this beer and I would have it again on draft sometime.
11-19-2012 00:02:11 | More by drabmuh
3.73/5 rDev -8.1%
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.
06-19-2012 01:31:43 | More by Rifugium
4.25/5 rDev +4.7%
I had this on-tap at Capone's during Philly beer week. Served in a sample glass.
Appearance: The beer pours a black color with hardly any head. The head that is there goes away quickly.
Smell: This beer smells quite sweet and very roasty. I'm getting some warm alcohol and dark fruit.
Taste: Sweet and roasty with some dark fruit and brown sugar notes. I'm getting a slight bitterness with vanilla and dark chocolate notes as well. Complex and easy to drink.
Mouthfeel: The body is thick and there isn't enough carbonation. The finish is dry.
Overall: This is a very nice stout and I can see why it holds up so well to barrel aging. I would have another.
06-13-2012 01:10:07 | More by oline73
4/5 rDev -1.5%
Big thanks to yourefragile for sharing this at our big Eclipse tasting; thanks Michael. Poured into a pint glass.
a - Pours a pitch black color with one inch of dark tan head and low carbonation evident.
s - Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, sweet dark fruits, toasted malts, and some light coffee. Very roasty, nice nose.
t - Tastes of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, coffee, toasted and burnt malts, and some light cream. Little bit of bitterness but pretty nice.
m - Medium body and low carbonation. Pretty easy to drink beer.
o - Overall a very nice stout; can see how it is a very good base for the Eclipse variations. Lots of roasted malts and some light nice chocolate; would like to have it again.
11-19-2012 15:22:20 | More by mdfb79
2.65/5 rDev -34.7%
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.
12-19-2011 03:50:32 | More by Halcyondays
3.73/5 rDev -8.1%
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.
07-12-2013 03:31:42 | More by kojevergas
4.47/5 rDev +10.1%
10/17/09- Growler purchased at Firtyfifty Brewing Company.
Presentation- Via the growler into a Duvel style glass.
Appearance- Super black in appearance. Head is slight, maybe at a 1/3 of an inch. Lacing is light, but has some streaks and lines. Looks quite thick.
Smell- Nose of roated malts, light coffee beans and a large nose of dark chocolate.
Taste- Huge chocolate malt presence. Coffee is limited, but chocolate carries the show. Hops are there, but fade out the more you drink.
Mouthfeel- Pretty damn smooth with a lower carbonation level. Light hoppy finish, thick and chewy. Feels like more than 10% in mouthfeel, but doesn't hit hard like a 10% beer.
Drinkability- This is a pretty much the same beer as their award winning Total Esclipe, but they changed the name to match the Oatmeal and upped the abv a tad. Pretty sure this isn't an Imperial Oatmeal...at least they didn't mention that it was.
10-22-2009 15:16:54 | More by GClarkage
4/5 rDev -1.5%
Served on-tap at Capone's during PBW 2012. Finally get to try the base beer for all these Eclipse beers.
A - Pours black as night with a decent one finger tall tan head leaving spotty trails of lace down parts of the glass.
S - Smells of lots of chocolatey sweetness, dark roasted malt, molasses, licorice, dark fruits and a fair amount of booze.
T - Starts off with plenty of chocolatey sweetness slowly giving way to hints of dark fruits, molasses, licorice, day old coffee and the ever present dark malt. Finish is pretty sweet with quite a bit of booze, lingering on the palate long after consumption.
M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. This one is big and boozy, I could feel all 10% of this one throughout the glass.
O - I have wanted to try this one ever since I tried my first Eclipse beer. It is always nice to see where all the flavors are coming from in those BA beers. Overall this is a good stout, but I prefer it once it has seen a barrel.
06-14-2012 17:40:23 | More by orangesol
3.58/5 rDev -11.8%
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.
08-13-2013 16:02:47 | More by stakem
3.75/5 rDev -7.6%
On Tap at Tapestry in Philly. $9 Tulip. My first offering from Eclipse
A- Totality is a black stout with a nice sturdy 1/2 inch tan head that left some spotty lacing. Good retention on the cap.
S- This stout has a big roasted malt base to it with some chocolate and dark fruits with warming. No sign of the alcohol which is nice. Smells very robust.
T- A tasty stout with more of the chocolate and cocco coming through more than the smell. Also getting just a bit of tootsie roll as well. Roasted malts and not as much hops than expected.
M- Totality comes through the gullet pretty easy like. Not the smoothest stout out there. This one is a step above medium bodied with light carbonation. Just a hint of the alcohol comes through with some heat. No bitterness as the hops are low, or have faded. Not as big, bold, full as other stouts, but the slight lightness is built to make that Eclipse barrel varients.
D- Could have drank a lot of this. Not very hot, not to big, yet, in the end, it's just a stout. The alcohol while not sessionable is not terribly high either which helped out also. I finished my portion in no time
01-27-2012 05:12:29 | More by BARFLYB
Totality Imperial Stout from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 143 ratings.