Totality Imperial Stout - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 142 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
3.34/5 rDev -17.7%
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.
Serving type: bottle
09-11-2013 13:54:19 | More by SpeedwayJim
4.53/5 rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
well, I had the Eclipse and since there aint anymore of those around I thought i'd grab the base beer while I had the opportunity...
small head, nice topping, great lacing....
smelling this one after doing several of the Eclipses is like sniffing Superman's underwear as he's lying on the floor after becoming exposed to kryptonite (i'm not a superman fan, i'm just buzzed and this is the first vision which came to me). still, a beautiful scent to this stout. a great base. I suppose it's like going back on an old recruit and remembering the interview. I never got the interview; I just got the superior result. I never got the Totality before I got the Eclipse. the Eclipse is FAR superior... very earthy scent, however, and i'm trying to review it as itself as opposed to it's older sister....
taste is.... just another stout. very good. very nice taste considering the abv. it is apparent to me that the barrel-aging is paramount to craft a highly-desirable brew although I was initially against this and despised the high liquor taste I got from several of the 'other' brands' barrel-aging. I have poured me a nice shot of Auchentoshan to kind of give me a sense of the barrel-aging (lame reason for getting ripped, no?) that i'm not getting from this brew.
overall, geez. what can I say? I know by reading the other reviews that others are comparing this 'base' beer to the 'finished' product of aging in a barrel and I can totally agree with that position. what a generic, 'standard' brew this is compared to the Eclipse. but still darned good. a little more bitter than I would prefer, but I think that is what the 'aging' seems to help out with...
Serving type: bottle
09-08-2013 01:52:30 | More by pkalix
4.3/5 rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured into a 250ml wine-tulip glass on tap at Mikkeller Bar SF. Part of my birthday tasting. Review is from my notes. I've been curious about the Eclipse offerings for years, but due to the high price I've tended to ignore pursuing most of them. I was delighted to see the base beer on tap, so I wanted to see if it was any good before buying the barrel aged variants.
Pours a treacly, syrupy opaque color with a modest off-khaki head that soon dissipates completely. Well, if these guys were hoping to produce something that was "totally" black and intense as far as an imperial stout goes, they did a pretty good job here. Very viscous, almost in the realm of boozy wines, but leaves behind a mark of its own in terms of the style. Not necessarily pretty, but quite menacing and appealing.
The aroma is quite fantastic, with tons of roasted character and black fruits all around. Notes of dark chocolate syrup, roasted coffee and breadiness, as well as a sharp bitterness, combined with blackberries, prunes, and cherries. Very aromatic for an imperial stout, and definitely unique in its own right. Spices abound such as light vanilla, molasses, and cinnamon. Really good stuff here.
The flavor is sadly a little less fruity, but combined with the spices and roasted flavors, it's still very enjoyable. This is an excellent imperial stout! A first you get immediate notes of chocolate and coffee melded with slight vanilla and baking spices, but then it finishes with a cut bitterness from the dry hopping and espresso-like notes which, combined with the sweetness from the booze and the malts, makes it very easy and comforting to drink. With its good carbonation and syrupy, comfortable feel, this was simultaneously a sipper and something that I could drink as quickly as I could if so desired. Definitely one that I could have all night, in spite of the ABV - and, in fact, I did have it again once more that night!
Glad to see that this is the base beer for the variants - although I definitely would love to find some bottles of this and stock up on them whenever I need a great imperial stout fix that isn't too strong or overwhelming. This is among the greater ones for sure. I will seek this out again, and will keep an eye out for variants that I believe are worth my time and money.
Serving type: on-tap
09-02-2013 17:58:37 | More by magictacosinus
3.58/5 rDev -11.8%
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.
Serving type: bottle
08-13-2013 16:02:47 | More by stakem
4.13/5 rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours black as night with a decent one finger tan head leaving decent lacing throughout. Aromas of sweet chocolate, dark roasted malt, molasses, licorice, dark fruits and a fair amount of booze. The flavors start off with plenty of chocolate slowly giving way to hints of dark fruits, molasses, licorice, day old coffee and the dark malt. The back finish is pretty sweet with quite a bit of booze, lingering on the palate long after consumption. Heavy body mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. 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 Barrel Aged Eclipse beers. Overall this is a good stout, but I prefer it once it has seen a barrel.
Serving type: growler
07-22-2013 17:37:15 | More by CuriousMonk
3.9/5 rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Pour is jet black with a dark caramel head and lots of large bubbles. Nose is roast, olive, touch of marker, a hint ashy, and notes of chocolate cake. Taste has light roast, cake is brighter, lots of bakers chocolate and some malt sweetness. the magic marker is gone. Creamy full body, good carbonation and a lingering roasted bitterness trough the finish.
Serving type: bottle
07-12-2013 16:02:23 | More by cpetrone84
3.73/5 rDev -8.1%
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.
Serving type: bottle
07-12-2013 03:31:42 | More by kojevergas
3.78/5 rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
A - pours very dark black with medium amount of tan (need to be aggressive to show the head). Streaks and bubbles down the glass are evident.
S - Smells chocolatey and sweet sweet sweet. Some roasty characteristics and dark molasses.
T - The chocolate hits first, then the licorice, slight amount of coffee and maltyness. Kind of like rocky road ice cream.
M - Extremely smooth, very viscous, swirls around the mouth easily.
O - This is a decent imperial stout and super smooth and fluid. Totally hides the nearly 10% abv and chocolateness is very prevalent. Very glad to have tried this beer, especially being the base for the eclipse series, which I cant wait to try next (Elijah 12-year). A good stout overall, but like the other reviewers, looking for more depth, character and variety in the palate. It is one-dimensional in many aspects (parabola currently the benchmark). Try it and work your way up!
Serving type: bottle
07-07-2013 05:02:17 | More by Rish907
Totality Imperial Stout from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.