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

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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: 1,631
Avg: 4.43
pDev: 7.9%
Wants: 814
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: 1,631
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter. Shared bottle at a tasting.

A: Pours motor oil with a nice dark brown khaki 1.5 finger head.

S: Barrel characteristics really come through on this one. Surprisingly, no coffee or chocolate notes on the aroma which is usually a staple on Imperial Stouts. Some vanilla is present.

T: Taste for me was smooth, barrel taste. Some brown sugar and molasses creamy-ness. Really surprised by the lack of chocolate or coffee taste.

M: Smooth, medium to fuller bodied but not overly thick. First few sips left my mouth with a strong whiskey taste, as if I had taken a shot of whiskey and not beer. This dissipated as I drank more.

O: A fantastic and unique brew. We had a discussion that as we drank it, we weren't focused on the beer, but rather on table talk. We were surprised by this and decided this is a sessionable beer. This beer is all about showcasing the barrel characteristics and not the characteristics of Imperial Stouts. Really unique and I would recommend trying a bottle.

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Photo of Auror
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed today but reviewed from notes later. Split two ways. Cellar temp bottle poured into my CBS snifter.

Appearance- Poured black with a tan, surprisingly fluffy head. Head fades fairly quickly but leaves a nice persistent ring. Thick lacing coats the glass. Looks like a bourbon barrel-aged stout should.

Smell- Notes of chocolate, alcohol, and molasses dominate. Moderate fragrance level.

Taste- Chocolate again, surprisingly some nuts. Bourbon lends alcohol heat and vanilla. Decent amount of oak and roasted coffee bitterness on the back-end that was missing from the aroma. Very solid, but doesn't blow me away.

Mouthfeel- Very soft carbonation, and not dry at all. Definitely a viscous component. This beer is somehow both thin and chewy, but I like it.

Overall- The alcohol was well hidden in this (I'm told its higher than listed 9.5% abv), and the flavors were good, if not mind-blowing. A nice interplay of chocolate and vanilla. Pretty drinkable. Probably not worth the $, but splitting it made it worth it.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottling Pours a solid black with a decent sized tan head that slowly dissipates. The aroma coming out of my glass is roasty, chocolate, caramel and coffee wrapped in a subtle but evident barrel treatment of vanilla, and sweet bourbon whiskey. The flavor starts off sweet and malty with lots of roast, brown sugar, and chocolate. The barrel notes rush in with vanilla, whiskey, light wood to remind us that this is no ordinary stout. Lingering roasty whiskey with a touch of ethanol burn lasts long after every sip. Thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy creamy mouthfeel. Nice stout, the bourbon adds a nice sweetness that really compliments this version.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage Bottle #250

Three years of sitting? Time to take her down.

Pours an extremely dark brown...or black. Either way, it's dark. No head to view except a few bubbles. Worried about it being flat but was a false alarm. Read on.

The smell is molasses, brown sugar, leather, apple, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate and toffee. Great smelling even after sitting for a number of years. Light booze as well but its masked rather well.

The taste is still banging. Milk chocolate, light coffee, burnt toast, booze, medicine, smoke and dark fruit. It all still hear. Slight alcohol burn on the swallow. Somewhat hoppy.

The only negative....the mouthfeel is way thin. Wish that could somehow be remedied and knock this beer outta the stratosphere.

Overall this is a great blend. The barrel does wonders to this and if you cellar it right, you can get an amazing experience out of the session. This could have probably sat for awhile longer, but imo now is the time. Great stuff.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.46/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass with a one finger tan head.

S-Bourbon, vanilla are prominent, chocolate, roasted malt and coffee.

T-Great balance of bourbon, slight vanilla, nice chocolate, tad coffee, nothing overpowering.

M-Heavy, thick and not much carbonation.

O-What balance, so smooth. A wonderful stout. The vanilla and bourbon notes went together so perfectly.

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Photo of CJS
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A Not too think nor too lacey. Expected a bit more depth and legs.

S Rich wood aromas off the top, oaky, vanilla and caramel bursting. Def some sugar cooking in there.

T Way better than the initial nose guesses. Great bourbon character married with the chocolate. Nice spicy and herbal complexities in the finish.

M High gravity and very drinkable. Thinner than I thought but it makes no difference.

O A job well done on the brewers part but the not worth the hefty price tag it boast. I think a bottle of Elijah Craig 12 would cost a bit less and go a hell of a lot further.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. 1029/2011 labeled. Thanks, cvm4!

A: Blackish brown, no head, some bubbles. Light lacing.

S: Bourbon strong. Dark fruits chimed in as well.

T: So smooth and sweet. Bourbon dominates with a nice backing of chocolate. Goes down easy. Even better as it warms. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium Not much carbonation. But with a taste like this, who cares?

O: One of the best imperial stouts I've had. A celebratory sipper. Well done, fiftyfifty! Superior.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.67/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. BR 1 - 2012.

A real straightforward textbook looking large stout. Black walnut bodied in color, with a simple microscopic bubbled creamy head that forms. The head color manages a light mocha, light tan brown, and has a good amount of presence. A little tilt and you can see a little bit through it on the edges, and a good swish brings some leopard spotty lacing.

The nose hits with a large amount of fruit. It feels black berry, currant, creme de cassis, or some other dark black fruit, a light honey sweetness matching nicely in the background, I can't even tell this came from bourbon it's so fruity, it smells incredible. A little bit of char hides in the back. It smells incredibly creamy.

The palate feels so incredibly wonderful. The sweetness angle on this beer is just "perfect". High quality milk silky chocolate on the finish. The mid palate brings all that black fruit with a honey kiss of sweetness. There's some playful carbonation on the tip of the tongue at first, but alows the silky character to just come through. There is a wonderful sooty smoke component to this also, like you could blow black ash right out of your mouth.

Overall this drinks so easily, and is one of the most perfect sweet balanced big stouts I've ever had. Finished this bottle in nothing flat. Just a great beer.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

APPEARANCE: This is about as dark as it gets without being straight up black. Only a tiny bit of dark brown light got through the very top of the glass when held up to the light. No flashes of ruby, no transparency, just the smallest touch of dark brown. A quarter-inch of coffee colored head tops the glass for a few minutes before becoming a patch-work of bubbles and wisps on top of the black sea of beer. A few bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass as well, but cannot be seen until reaching the surface. There is no lacing to speak of.

SMELL: Smells like bourbon with a heavier than usual emphasis on the vanilla. Of course some wood comes through as well and a little chocolate backs it all up. The only surprises here are the hints of raisin and the lack of a more boozy smell.

TASTE: My first sip is too cold and more of the booziness comes through in the form of a more oaky bourbon flavor. Following the bourbon is a closing wave of bitter, roasted, coffee-like malt flavor. I know this will change drastically in a few minutes though. As it warms the sweeter side becomes apparent. A slightly bitter, dark-chocolate beats out the vanilla of the nose, but vanilla is still there and the chocolate gets sweeter as it warms. The hint of raisin is still present, but only at the very tail end of the sip and in the aftertaste.

MOUTHFEEL: A decent amount of carbonation provides an appropriate amount of tickle to the tongue for this big, full-bodied beer. Like many other big stouts, this has a mouthcoating, but not too sticky feel as well – it is silky smooth.

OVERALL: This was one of the biggest and best beer surprises I have had in a while. I expected it to be good, but it instantly became a new favorite of mine when I tried it on tap for the first time last week. I instantly knew I had to go grab a bottle…plus another to age. I don’t know how I’ll hold off, but I have a feeling it will be worth the wait.

Anyhow, while my first few, too chilly sips were good, this is a beer that needs to warm up a few degrees. Let it sit for 15 minutes before diving in.

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Photo of Auracom
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottling. 5 oz. poured in a snifter on December 20th, 2012.

A - A bit thicker-pouring than the old 2010's, though it's still not as dark as I'd like. Soft light tan head. Quick reduction. Sticky lacing. Gets a bump up in score for this year.

S - Sharp whiskey barrel. Dark chocolate, honey cake and apple. The very lightest twinge of pecan pie and alcohol solvency.

T - Woody barrel front. Light espresso, more dark chocolate bitterness. Caramel popcorn and a sweeter bourbon note balance the drink through the rear palate.

M - Smoother than expected, delightfully velvety. Medium body, semi-dry finish with an oak aftertaste.

D - Completely accessible and enjoyable. Not as tannic and overtly barrel-heavy as 2011's EC20, but definitely easier to work through. Easy recommendation here and arguably my favorite Eclipse thus far.

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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 Powderhornphil
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage.

Pours black, small amount of light around the edges. Maybe two fingers of tan head and very little lacing. Nice looking overall.

Smells of sweet bourbon dominates. Maybe a bit of the barrelwood. Some vanilla. I am not as blown away by the smell as I was expecting.

Taste, bourbon, light chocolate. Barrel notes. Some licorice flavor.

Full mouthfeel with good carb.

Overall this is a nice, well done beer. But for the price, there are many stouts at least this good. Really thought this was going to be at least 4.5s across the board so really a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So glad to see this coveted brew land in Mass! 22oz bottle, 2012 vintage...

A: Perfectly bitch black as night with a 1 inch tan head that fades at a decent pace. Very good.

S: I get some creamy roastiness on first sniff followed by some minor honey / dark fruit scents. Some nice vanilla / charred oak notes take up the backend. Good.

T: A thick easy drinking creaminess upfront with some great balanced vanilla and dark fruit. A minor hop bite dances on the back of your palate and the end finishes with a thick creaminess. Can't even tell this is alcohol! Very good.

M: Full body with a great carbonation. A creamy thick finish. Good.

O: All in all, I can definitely see the hype behind this brew. It is so easy to drink. While this is a great beer, I still think there are better brews. If you like thick stouts, give this one a try.

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Photo of IKR
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a modest beige head that slowly faded. The head appeared to stick around longer than that on my 2012 Evan Williams (same tulip glass).

Smell: Mild Bourbon (less than that in my 2012 Evan Williams), coffee/roasted malt aromas, brown sugar and some vanilla notes.

Taste: Bourbon, roast malts, vanilla, caramel/brown sugar and oak notes. The finish is fairly dry with Bourbon, roast malts notes and mild hop notes. To my tastes, The Elijah Craig had a more restrained Bourbon presence than that of my 2012 Evan Williams.

Mouth-feel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall: Good beer. It really is interesting to see the impact the different barrels have on the Eclipse series.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black, yup black. Coffee colored head, coffee with milk that is. Aroma is muted however what is there is chocolate, vanilla, charcoal and well perhaps a bit of honey. On the palate is where this beer shines! Milk chocolate, vanilla, oh my mint I can actually detect mint. Charcoal is big and I also get some nice bourbon soaked woody oak. Had you never had a beer with honey as an ingredient you wouldn't know, but if you have then it is clear honey is present here and a truly brilliant addition to a stout. A very rich beer it is, thick, slick and chewy. Must say this beer would be a 5 overall, but it is a tad bit too sweet.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a FiftyFifty Eclipse snifter.

Finally getting around to trying this beer. I've been excited about this one for some time. Shared with the group during a FiftyFifty themed tasting.

The beer appears near black with a thin beige head. The aroma is vanilla, perhaps some toasted coconut, roast, chocolate, oak. Lovely. The taste follows suit. Simply delicious. A standout among the FiftyFifty Eclipse series.

It was interesting sipping this side by side with the Elijah Craig 18 Eclipse. I think both are fabulous beers, each offering a myriad of flavors. Highly recommended.

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Photo of kevanb
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #756, 2011 vintage, served in a snifter.

The beer pours a deep jet black, hues of dark cola brown come through when held to the light, intensely opaque. A thin mocha head appears but dissipates very quickly, leaving behind a trace of film atop the beer and no real lacing. The aroma is of charred wood, rich chocolate, sweet vanilla, bourbon and faint coffee, well rounded, extremely inviting and pleasing. The flavors are wonderfully complex, strong bourbon, rich chocolate, smooth vanilla, roasted coffee and charred wood, just as the nose lead on, a bit of molasses and pitted fruit does come to the tongue as the beer warms that gives on a touch of added complexity. The body is good, a tad thinner than other barrel aged stouts, not as creamy or motor oily as others, but still works well for the beer, the carbonation is spot on, a bit lively and zesty as it goes down with a great smooth finish.

Verdict: Another incredible rendition of Eclipse. This beer never ceases to amaze in it's depth of flavor and general palatability and each barrel variant brings out something unique and different than the others, a joy to drink.

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Photo of Holland
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to CheapBeerBuzz for this beauty!

A: dark brown to black, not very viscous, very nice tan head with excellent retention creating a froth on top. Same as the EC 18 but with a more foamy head.

S: bourbon and oak are slight in smell along with some vanilla.

T: dark fruits are heavy, but this has quite a bourbon and wood flavor along with some vanilla.

M: missing some body, but overall very good. Well carbonated with fine bubbles. Very creamy.

O: excellent beer. When I first opened it, I didn't think it would be very good. Wrong. Hope they make it again, and make it at a less steep price ($30/22 ounce bottle). Not quite as enjoyable as the EC 18, but really close.

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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 Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – A very dark brownish black color that is just slightly translucent. Has a nice thick head that dissipates quickly to a thin layer. Leaves a medium-light wet lacing.

Smell – Roasted malts, a nicely sweet smelling bourbon, oak and vanilla.

Taste – Sweet bourbon, malts, and vanilla.

Mouthfeel – Creamy, smooth, very little carbonation, with a mild bourbon aftertaste.

Drinkability – I like bourbon beers best with a little sweetness to them. This one has it.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Super Junior Market
San Diego, CA

(Aged for 1 year)

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, without a lot of visible carbonation and not much head. This does leave sticky spots of lacing down the glass. Not a particularly heavy or substantial looking stout.

Lovely aroma, especially as the beer inches closer and closer to room temperature. The familiar coconut, bourbon, chocolate, wood, roast, and coffee elements combine here for something quite lovely.

The flavor follows similarly with chocolate, bourbon, and earthy vanilla flavors combining. There is hardly any trace of alcohol harshness. This is incredibly drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel with low carbonation. I think I would prefer it be a touch thicker.

Fantastic. This is perhaps the best of the 2011 bottlings.

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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 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 yamar68
4.72/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to corregidore for this one, along with an 18 year! Been hunting for this one for a while. 2011 vintage, #3,307, poured from bottle to brandy snifter:

Pours a near pitch black... maintaining a slight bit of dark copper clarity. A thin half-finger of light brown head fades out to a neat collar. Great, oily lacing. Nice looking beer.

Tons of lush honeycomb and caramel cake on the nose... super refined, just a suggestion of booze comes with a big snort. Rich bourbon without the heat.

Holy hell... fantastic. It's nice that this is 9.5% because it allows for a smooth bourbon character that isn't accompanied by too much alcohol which sometimes can trick your mind into tasting heat from the bourbon itself. Honey and caramel play key roles. Exceptionally drinkable for a BA imperial stout.

One of the most unique and delicious beers I've ever had.


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Photo of eric5bellies
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Duvel Tulip glass. Bottle 2977.

Big thanks to Nicks6217 for this one.

A - Pours darks as night with no transparency. The head is one fingered and tanned. It reduces to a decent lacing film.

S - Big aromas of bourbon drenched oak, some chocolate and a tiny bit of booze.

T - Big flavours of toffee, caramel and Bourbon. The finish is long and quite a boozy expresso / vanilla flavour. A nice warming finish.

M - Big full mouthfeel with minimal carbonation. Very smooth

O - This is one of my favourite stouts of all time. It is very well rounded and has plenty of diverse flavour. The smoothness is A+

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