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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (12 Year) - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (12 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (12 Year)

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261 Reviews
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Reviews: 261
Hads: 1,632
Avg: 4.43
pDev: 19.41%
Wants: 816
Gots: 664 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jmoore50 on 12-29-2009

Imperial Stout aged 200 days in an Elijah Craig bourbon barrel.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 261 | Hads: 1,632
Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"BR3 2012." 9.5% confirmed. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass with purple wax-ed over branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at a bottle shop in Beverly Hills, CA for $27.00 and served into an Odell stem-tulip in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the price point and the brewery's reputation.

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

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a two finger wide head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Retention is good - about 5 minutes. Even lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black. Nontranslucent/nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it's a good appearance for an imperial stout, but isn't unique or special. No egregious flaws. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Chocolate, vanilla, dark malts, chocolate malts, and cream. No real oak barrel character comes through unfortunately - no refined or rich character. No hop or yeast character is detectable. There is some alcohol presence. A mild to moderate clean aroma of well above average strength.

T: Dark malts, chocolate malts, cream, faint marshmallow, light chocolate, faint vanilla, and very light oak. Decently balanced and cohesive, but not gestalt. I do like it. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Not particularly intricate or nuanced.

Decent complexity and subtle. Little intricacy/nuance. I've had far deeper and more complex beers,

Mf: Smooth, wet, unrefreshing, medium-bodied, and nicely thick. A biteen sticky. Suits the flavour profile pretty well. Suits the flavour profile generally well, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to it.

Not astringent, oily, harsh, gushed, boozy, or hot.

No real roasted barley, coffee, spices, or yeast. Has some alcohol presence.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but noticeably boozy. I wouldn't buy it again at this price point. Good but not great. My companion and I will easily kill this bottle, but it's far from exemplary. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, but it's likeable enough. Not worth it.

High B-

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.51/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage, bottle #3609. Purple wax, so I have the right listing.

4.5 A: Black color. Two fingers of creamy tan head. Retention is good and glass covering lacing is left behind.

3.5 S: Compared to the BT blend, this is surprisingly mellow. There's less of everything. Less chocolate from the base beer, less bourbon, less intensity overall. Like the BT, the barrel aging is very good. No hints of astringency or off-flavors. Also, the booze is incredibly well hidden. The bourbon itself is leathery, lightly earthy, and superbly smooth. Less vanilla and oak in this one. Overall this is about as well put together as it can get, but it's lacking any sort of intensity or complexity.

3.5 T: The taste follows the nose in that this is super mellow, but not as impressive as it could be. There isn't much going on from the base beer except for a light chocolate and roastiness. Rather, this is just a showcase for the bourbon. Unfortunately, the bourbon isn't strong enough for this to be much of a success. Leathery with melon fruitiness, a light earthiness, and a mild booze. A lot more well rounded that the BT blend, but also not as potent. Thus, it ends up with the same score.

3.0 M: Medium body. Maybe a touch heavier than the BT blend. This could use a touch more carbonation, but it's within the acceptable range. Also lacking with creaminess.

3.5 D: This beer (and I assume the rest of what I'll drink) suffers from the same problems as the previous variants I've had. Great barrel aging, but they started with a less than impressive stout. Put a little more effort in there, and this would be a gangbusters horizontal. As an aside, EC must be some good stuff since it came off so mellow, well rounded, and complete in this beer. I might have to pick up a bottle.

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Photo of tarheels86
3.54/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber with purple wax #478 courtesy of FickSD on BA shared at the Toronado. Poured a deep, clear brown with no head. Nose was rich with figs, raisins, oak, some light spicy alcohol, molasses, maple. Taste is very sweet, dark fruit forward, spicy alcohol, dry oak. Sticky sweet palate. 8/3/7/3/14=3.5

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.73/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Oglmcdgl for popping one of these open.
purple wax bottle into Duvel tulip.

Imperial Eclipse Stout, Elijah Craig (12 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co is a black stout with a dark tan bordering on brown cap that left some splotches on the glass.

Smell is what you would expect from the style, dark chocolate with slight vanilla notes and oak toppled by the blend of bourbon BA'ing resulting in bourbon and stout. Some dark fruit pops out. I May have smelled the honey used, but that could be my mind.

This is nice, not as large than I was expecting in body, yet tons of flavor from the barrel without losing the base beer. Nice hits of oak, vanilla, booze, chocolate, cocco, and some roasted malt.

Feel is a little thin for the style. I kind of like that as it makes it easier for me to drink, and Im sure it helps to pick up more of the barrel in a thinner stout. The carb was a bit lacking, yet not dead. Over time, it dwindled.

Great beer, but let's be real, at 30 dollars per bottle it's insanely expensive, a bit insulting actually. In the end it's another big stout with bourbon.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
3.76/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This bottle was a little harsh for my palate, but I can see why many people enjoy it.

A- Kinda transparent for a BA Stout. Thank You Mr. Minor lacing.

S- Kinda musty. It almost smells sour, but the barrel characteristic comes out.

T- I get a harsh rye bite out of this one. Not as smooth as I like it. Barrel character is present, some charred dark fruit and molasses is present.

M- Thin like the appearance. Leaves a nice coat of barrel after drinking it though!

O- I have yet to be impressed by 50/50, but I also have not had the pappy or vanilla

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Photo of brystmar
3.8/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed as part of last night's bottle share. Thanks to rlmartin, rmjavanut, hoppymcgee, and whartontallboy for contributing to this 11-bottle Eclipse tasting!

This 2011 EC12 was more raw and bold than any of the others last night. Its stout character came through well, but the bourbon treatment simply wasn't on par with EC18, Buffalo Trace, or '10 HH. A decent stout overall, but a poor value at $25.

Overall, the '11 EC18 was our group's consensus favorite. But honestly, I was unimpressed across the board with most of these beers. Bourbon County Stout is far superior to all of them except EC18. Very glad I got to try them all, but EC18 is the only one I'd seek out again.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.82/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had many of the eclipse series together. This is the 09 vintage. Pour is dark black liquid with a dark tan head. The nose has hints of bourbon, a bit of wood, lightly smoked with dry chocolate and some malt sweetness. The flavor is bourbon up front, lots of wood, notes of dry chocolate with a fair bit of rich cake and some additional fruity malt sweetness in back. Fully bodied, smooth and creamy, semi dry. One of the best in the tasting of the eclipse beers, rich and balanced with good integration.

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Photo of claspada
3.9/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black color with a small tan head but still leaves some super lacing as your swirl the beer around.

Aromas of sweet bourbon, oak, roasted malts and dark chocolate. As it warms you get some toffee, bitter espresso and light caramel maltiness. A much more dry, bitter dark chocolate aroma than the other Eclipse series that I have sampled.

The tastes follow the nose and begin with sweet bourbon, oak, roasted malts and dark chocolate. The roasty/smoky elements continue to build as it warms into a full Bourbon character by leaving some rough boozy edges.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Finish is dry and biting due to the emerging Bourbon presence.

Overall this is my least favorite of the 5 variations I have sampled to date. Too smoky and acridly bitter with too much emerging straight bourbon flavor overpowering the base beer elements.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.92/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into an Eclipse snifter. 2011 bottle. Bottle #1491.

Appearance - Murky black with transparent edges. Not much of a head. Wispy surface.

Smell - Slightly sharp bourbon character, not quite as harsh as others. Very sweet smelling. Chocolate. Vanilla.

Taste - Lots of sugar, very sweet. Sweeter than other variants, which I don't understand. Maybe the EC barrels add sugar, but I don't understand why that would happen. Bourbon flavor is nice, rounded out by the sugars. Chocolate and vanilla.

Mouthfeel - Slick and creamier than the base beer. Medium carbonation. Sweet and barrel booze finish.

Overall - Similar to the Elijah Craig 20, without quite that great barrel character.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.93/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let's start with- this is an extremely well made beer. That said, it didn't blow me away like some other bourbon barrel beers have, especially for the price. I actually preferred the four roses to this one. My problem is that it just has way too much of a caramel note to it from the whiskey barrel. Too sweet, and to cloying- like caramel corn. That just makes the beer too heavy and one dimensional for me. I'm still enjoying it, but I wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of rtaps
3.93/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours black with a nice deep khaki to brown like head with decent retention leaving spotty lacing behind

not a very big head here, rich chocolate and the bourbon from the barrel

taste is much better than the nose, rich chocolate a bit nutty and some heat.
medium to light bodied medium carb nice viscous and smooth

overall very nice and tasty

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Photo of tewaris
3.94/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks poonamibaxter for the trade. Thanks for hosting Kevin.

Looks thin and not as syrupy as some others of its creed. Initially chocolaty with mellow roast and some vanilla; the barrels seem to be only in supporting role at first but the beer opens up with warmth. Creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Would have been more enjoyable had it not been somewhat offputtingly tart.

3 4 4 4 4

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Photo of iadler
3.95/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Open during a recent tasting. 2011 bottle. Forgot to write bottle number.

A- Pours a pitch black with a small mocha head that dissipates quickly and leaves minimal lacing.

S- Bourbon upfront followed by oak, vanilla, plumb, fig, dark chocolate, roasted malt, burnt caramel and a hint of coffee.

T- Again lots of bourbon with oak, subtle vanilla bean, dark chocolate, roasted malt and burnt caramel.

M- Medium carbonation with a thin body, especially for a stout. Has some heat the finish. Could use a bit more body.

O- After having several Eclipses, I'm ready to say that I'm not willing to throw another $30 for any of the variations. Not a bad beer, but nothing really memorable and a middle of the road BA stout IMO.

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Photo of MrChopin
3.95/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'09 Elijah Craig - 1yr old. jet black, thin large-bubbled head is coaxed with a vigorous pour but remains. Nose at first shows a dusty, oxidized malt, some unsweet bourbon, and a light soy. Reminds of aged 7000 without as much of the robust malt. Flavor is hotter up front, a thin but delicate body reminds of a nice rum-candy with warmth on the mid-palate, with some wood and cocoa through the lengthy finish, dry finish. Body and malt profile are a bit washed out but also chewy and overly sweet, some unfermented sugars remaining amidst near-balance. Still, I personally find the light body and lack of strong malt to be a trend growing too common from stout experimenters like CCB, Bruery, and now 50-50. And yet there is a ton of bourbon in this, which I've hardly mentioned, and I think this is because the bourbon blends so well with the base beer flavors.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.97/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was enjoyed at a tasting that included 5 Eclipse variations: Elijah Craig 12 and 18, Four Roses, Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye, and Brewmaster's Grand Cru.

2011 Vintage Bottle #2759. $25 for a 22oz bottle.

A: All of them pretty much poured the same. Finger or two of brown to light brown head. The color is black with noticeable bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

S: The aroma here is very interesting. This was the first variation I delved into, so the aroma hit me big time. Crazy sweet with chocolate, honey, and bourbon taking the cake. Light roast and some vanilla in there as well. Really nicely balanced, too.

T: Compared to some of the others, the taste here isn't that big. Chocolate body with bourbon, honey, and vanilla being the main flavors. Oak, Chocolate, and Boozy finish, the alcohol is tasted throughout the entirety of the beer.

MF: Lighter body overall than I expected, and lower than average carbonation. Big booziness on all of them, with a warming alcohol feeling to finish. The dryness on the palate varies with the different bourbons. This was specifically was lighter in body than the Elijah Craig 18 year.

O: This was good, it just didn't hold up to the other Bourbons. Just not as well balanced. I chose it as the 4th best.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Even though it was against my better judgement I acquired a bottle of this. I heard the EC 12 year was one of the best eclipses so I dropped an unseemly amount of money for a bomber ($24). I had this feeling all along it wasn't going to be worth the money since Parabola is only $15 and I was proven right. Dark black beer, super healthy head. Aroma is mild bourbon, and then I get notes of honey, not bad. Flavor was mostly bourbon, wood, more booze, touch of honey. I was really hoping for some chocolate or vanilla or coconut flavors but I got none. I suspected this beer was overpriced and now I feel vindicated. Caveat emptor. I sort of wish I had just bought two bottles of older viscosity instead. :(

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured jet black with big brown bubbles, nice head retention which surrenders some spotty lacing

S: Big bourbon on the nose, booze stings the nostrils, dark rich chocolates and dark dark fruits come to mind. Whiffs of tobacco and leather are noticed.

T: Some initial heat gives way to bourbon, oak, coconut, vanilla, a one-modest two punch of tobacco and leather with a long drawn out dark fruit presence. A little hint of sourness is noted as is some charcoal

M: Well carbonated, full body, a nice creaminess exists on this but not silky like creamy decadence that I enjoy from an Old Rapsy Anny.

O: Good, but no way is this worth the price point!

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.01/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #2898 of 2011's batch. Purple wax.

A: Bottle poured into a large snifter. The head is/was tan, gone in seconds to just a ring of tight bubbles around the glass. Swirling leaves some lacing that falls quickly back into the beer. Wouldn't say pitch black here, some dark brown is noticeable when held up to light. Not really impressive looking.

S: The whiffs of this I was getting while checking out the appearance of the beer were stunning...and I'm about 3 feet away from it. Spicy and strong, smoky and woody. Sweet notes of vanilla and molasses. A bit of rye. Plenty going on here, and the base beer holds up well with all this on top of it. If you really get your nose in there it gets a bit boozy, but all the overriding sweet tones cancel this out very well. Quite nice.

T: Incredibly smooth, no alcohol burn whatsoever which I've encountered in other bourbon barrel stouts. All of the sweet notes of the bourbon come out, complimented by deep chocolate and coffee flavors. The wood adds nice tobacco and leafy characteristics. Only complaint is that it seems the base beer itself doesn't really stand out enough.

M: A bit thin for a big stout, carbonation is low. Finishes a bit strong and lasting on the back of the tongue and throat, but not much lingers otherwise.

O: Well balanced flavors and great contribution from the barrel. Found the beer thin for the style, but it is really covered by amazing compound flavors.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.03/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bourbon and rich black chocolates is very soothing. Taste is also dominated rich black chocolate notes with some medium bourbon notes with really rounds off the rough or bitter edge of the base stout. Body is full with nice oily and creamy texture with good carbonation with alcohol not that apparent in this version.

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Photo of Phelps
4.05/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into a snifter.

Pours a clear amber that coalesces to become dead black. One finger of thick, sticky sandy brown grips the glass in full walls.

Maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, oak, a touch of toasted coconut. Sweet, rich.

A bit of alcohol heat in the nose. Booze is just a bit more intense than the underlying stout. Sweet bourbon, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, maple syrup. A little more stout flavor would be good here, but the bourbon is nice. Not too harsh.

Silky medium body. Creamy. Soft carbonation, a mild massage.

Good flavor. Not the best variation ever.

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Photo of femALEist
4.05/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at City Beer Store's FiftyFifty event:
It smelled pretty similar to the Heaven Hill Rye with a little bit more roasted flavors and a light bourbon nose. It tasted a bit more roasted, more bitter with espresso & toffee notes. It has a nice carbonation to it- stronger than the heaven Hill but you can taste and feel the alcohol more in this one.

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Photo of oline73
4.06/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to try the 2009, 2011, and 2012 versions side by side. Served from the bottle into a tasting goblet. This review is of the 2009 bottle with some differenced noted.

The beer pours a very dark brown/almost black color. There isn't much head to speak of. The smell of the 2009 was very different from the newer versions. There was hardly any alcohol, but I was getting lots of dark fruit and some mild roast. I thought there was a strong raisin presence in the nose. The taste is very smooth. You can tell this beer has some age on it, but it hasn't fallen apart too much. There is a roasted malt sweetness with the bourbon mainly showing up in the finish. I'm also getting some dark fruit and mild caramel/vanilla notes. I thought there was a mild peppery note as well. The body wasn't particularly thick and there was only a little carbonation.

I liked the 2012 version of this beer more than the 2011 even though it was hotter. I thought the depth of flavor was better in the 2009 version.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.06/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a little more than a finger's worth of head which has a little retention. The head is a medium beige while the body is a opaque, dark chocolate black. Some lacing is left behind.

Nose- Not as much presence as I've come to expect from barrel aged imperial stouts. Some chocolate, a bit of coffee. Some heat. A bitterness (mostly oaky) that is a little bit astringent, almost like formic acid. Later, some cream and milk shows. Some graham cracker, a little bit of honey. Suggestions of caramel and toffee. Swirling shows a slight sweetness- maybe cherries or raisins.

Taste- Starts off with a good amount of chocolate (some cocoa) that has bourbon notes playing off it. Good amount of oak which builds to the finish but is surprisingly rounded. I generally don't enjoy massive oak notes but it's working so far. A little bit of heat which interacts well with the oak. The chocolate is very deep and dark and suggests notes of raisins. Light hints of coconut and vanilla start to emerge. Seems a little subdued but there is the notion that this beer will have a lot more complexity as it opens up. Unfortunately, this notion does not seem to be playing out as the beer seems to be restrained. Very approachable with a lot of balance and integration but lacks the complexity that I desire- I will suffer a bit of messiness for a more interesting flavor profile. Good to really good beer though, most leaning toward really good. Doesn't fare well in comparison to the BCBS I had last night but little does. Some ashiness and small suggestion of tobacco. Could use some sweeter notes.

Mouthfeel- Between medium bodied and heavy bodied with light carbonation. A little chalky on the finish.

Drinkability- Very mellow for a 12% barrel aged beer- perhaps, a little too mellow. The price is certainly steep- I won't be buying another to age. Aging this seems pointless anyway.

Overall- Good to really good beer, mostly good. Definitely worth a try but if the 28 dollar price tag makes you pause, you are correct in your concern. I will not be buying it again.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to beerdy for this beer! Thanks Brien!

bottle numbered 3748 vintage 2011 poured into snifter glass.

reviewed from notes taken on 5/4/12.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 2 finger of dark khaki head. The head stays around for a decent amount of time considering this is a BA stout. Spotty lace on glass.

Smell: mild roast. nice whiskey and oak notes. Hints of vanilla and raisins.

Taste: This beer is actually less flavorful than I expected. Its whiskey notes seems to be prominent and I only get a little bit of chocolate and vanilla from the stout. But with that said the whiskey notes are quite nice in this stout.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation for a BA Imperial Stout. Smooth and silky. Hides the ABV very well. Could have been a bit thicker too.

Overall: Solid flavors in this beer, just nothing unique in a craft beer scene loaded with BA Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of jdklks
4.09/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my buddy Jmoore50 for picking this up and letting me have a glass. As a disclaimer, I will say that the rating I've given it reflects what I believe it deserves, but not what I think of the beer. What I mean is that this beer has HUGE potential (A+ for sure), but is a little rough around the edges.

The appearance is a little lighter than I like my imperial stouts and the body looks thin. There is little to head to speak of, but some milk-chocolate colored bubbles do break the surface. The smell is the best part of the beer. The barrel aging has done wonders for this beer. Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, sweet dark fruits (chocolate covered cherries), among other things.

The flavors follows the smell closely, and I'm torn between a 4.5 and 4 rating (can I give it a 4.25?). It's pretty hot and the whiskey profile gives makes me think of it as the little brother of BCS. Lots of chocolate throughout, and a nice (almost coffee) roast in the finish. Hints of vanilla and hazel-nut (which I absolute love in imperial stouts), with an imposing sweetness up front that levels out the bitter roastiness in the finish. It has its fair share of alcohol throughout, but especially on the back of the palate and in the esophagus. It almost tastes a little watered down. Good beer that could be seriously great.

The moutfeel is that of a porter (much too thin for an imperial stout) and is the biggest disappointment of the beer. However, this adds to drinkability as this one goes down VERY easily.

Looking forward to (hopefully) trying the other versions, and to seeing how the brewing of this beer evolves over the next few years.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (12 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 261 ratings.