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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

1,388 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,388
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 7.83%
Wants: 761
Gots: 545 | FT: 40
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:
Imperial Stout aged 200 days in an Elijah Craig bourbon barrel.

(Beer added by: Jmoore50 on 12-29-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (12 Year) Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,388 | Reviews: 244 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

Photo of Dominic_Decoco
4.04/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of artoolemomo
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of Phelps
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of femALEist
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of jdklks
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.09/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter. Bottle 668, vintage 2011.

A: Black, with no head, but heavy lacing.

S: Boozy and strong.

T: This is a delicious beer. Not as strong as I was expecting, it's mild and inviting, with lots of soft vanilla and bittersweet chocolate. The aftertaste is warming and lingering. Still, after two years, I expected a bit more.

M: Surprisingly clean without being carbonated or thin. Solid beer.

O: Very nice! I like this beer a lot.

Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, purple wax sealed, and 11.9% ABV for bottle run numero 2 of 2013. Is there an online instruction manual, or something, that describes how to open this sort of enclosure, without picking away at the wax with a knife?

This beer pours a fairly deep dark black abyss, yet with prominent basal cola highlights, and two chubby fingers of densely foamy, weakly puffy, and broadly bubbly chocolate milk brown head, which leaves some nice low-pressure system lace around the glass as it slowly abates.

It smells of mildly astringent rye whisky barrel wood, the titular booze, dry vanilla, crusty caramel, bittersweet chocolate, the hint of the earthy floral honey quietly noted on the label, and some surprisingly prominent herbal, leafy hops. The taste is more woody, boozy barrel notes right up front, some dry, earthy black licorice, a touch of cold java, lightly toasted, but not inherently light caramel malt, a grainy besotted breadiness, a weirdly evolving semi-sour milkiness, and subtle earthy, musty hops.

The bubbles are pretty sublimely restrained, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, and quite equitably smooth, with a pleasant stab at everyman creaminess. It finishes still almost cripplingly sweet, the caramel, vanilla, alcohol, anise, honey all equally culpable. But recall, I said 'almost'.

I am not at all versed in the spirituous offerings of one Elijah Craig, so all I can discern from this offering is that it is one pleasantly understated example of a Bourbon County staple, based on the thorough, yet inoffensive effects rendered herein. The base RIS is only mildly altered, I presume, and the overall experience is quite agreeable enough - tasty, full, and sweet to a point that dessert pairing is hardly out of the question.

Photo of thagr81us
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was a part of cmrillo’s 40 Beers* @ 40 Birthday Bash! Shared by cmrillo at his own party! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a dark reddish brown with a half finger khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, wood, sweet alcohol, and vanilla. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, wood, vanilla, caramel, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. After having the 18 year old version right before this one it was quite easy to pick out the differences. This one had a caramel note hinting around in it which was nice but not awesome. It did have quite an excellent smell going on with it that was rather inviting. Whether you are trying the 12 or the 18, you really can’t go wrong.

Photo of sukwonee
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 Vintage (so about 1.5 years old), purple wax, served at slightly colder than room temperature

A: Black, looks a tad bit thin from the way it swirls, half a finger head, mocha head that retains for a few minutes. It's aight

S: Vanilla and coconut forward (very nice!), I also get quite a bit of alcohol, roasted malt... that's about it.

T: Alcohol is a bit too much for me but it really follows the nose. I am a bit surprised though that after a year and a half, it's still this hot (and it's only 9.5%). I also taste honey towards the middle/end. It's delicious, but slightly disappointed? I think EC18 was better.

M: It's chewy alright, but a bit on the thinner side. Alcohol burn is felt for sure.

O: It's a very very good barrel aged stout, but not among the best I've had. I am glad I got to try it though! (I will be sticking to Parabola, which is cheaper and easier to obtain for me)

Photo of Chambic
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

01.23.10 at City Beer Store

A: dark and opaque; the barely-there head is kinda filmy

S: faint syrup, this thing promises to be sweet, although there are cocoa flavors that hopefully balances it

T: yum, it IS sweet, although it's more like chocolate

M: really nice, stays on the tongue a bit

D: highly quaffable for something that seems (IS!) so dangerous

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight black. A touch of dark brown. Small creamy tan head. Drops to a small, almost nonexistent cap and slightly larger collar. Minimal carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Coconut, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and a solid roasted malt. A touch fudgy with a solid brownie batter and chocolate push. An touch of alcohol as well. The barrel influence is heavy, dropping all sorts of bourbon. Butterscotch. A touch of cocoa.

Taste: Rich roasted malts. Loaded with chocolate, both sweeter milk and slightly darker cocoa. Bourbon is assertive and makes everything a bit boozy. Layers of vanilla, coconut, butterscotch, a touch of oak. Fudge and some brownie. The bourbon is actually really mellow and adds a nice dimension to the base stout. A touch of cola syrup thrown in the mix.

Mouthfeel: Slick with a full but not syrupy body. Minimal to moderate carbonation. Surprisingly clean.

Overall: Light urple.

The Rittenhouse Rye managed to blend better, but the whiskey here is stupid smooth and easy going.

Photo of KRG
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Halcyondays
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours black with a medium tan head, very good head retention and lace.

S: Huge amount of bourbon and vanilla, dominated by the barrel.

T: Similar to the smell. Dark chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. A good flavour, though not super complex. Enjoyable for sure.

M: Medium to full-bodied, soft frothy carbonation. Creamy.

O: Another solid beer from the Eclipse series, still waiting for one to wow me though.

Photo of mulder1010
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into a CBS Snifter
#2925
Did it really need more wax??

A-- Pours a dark cola color and settled a dark reddish black color. All sorts of ruby hues with this. Nearly clear when shown to the light. Half finger of light brown head that quickly fades to a thick film that eventually breaks up into a splotchy film. Lots of carbonation bubbles in the head. Nice spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Dark milk chocolate, honey, coconut, toasted marshmallow, and slight oak. Once opened up it shows signs of bourbon and alcohol, yet it mellows again to the original nose. Well balanced and not as sweet as the other variations have been.

T-- A little bourbon forward. Bourbon at first, followed by milk chocolate, carmel, honey, and toasted coconut. Flashes of alcohol but quite restrained. rather smooth really.

M-- Slick and oily. Alcohol is more obvious in the mouth as there is more heat in the mid and back of the palate. Bit of a milk chocolate, honeycomb, and marshmallow finish to this. There are thin parts to this but the barrel notes do a good job in covering it well.

O-- Brandy or bourbon? Something that needs to be sipped and savored. Enough notes of the base beer and enough of the barrel to make this really nice. Well done in the balance and in the softer touches of the barrel notes. Not something that hits you over the head with a hammer.

Photo of nrs207
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let me start out by saying this beer isn't worth the money.

A - It's a nice looking imperial stout. It has an impressive head for a BA stout. Nothing to detract from appearance.

S - Bourbon dominates. Fairly smooth. I think I get a bit of the honey.

T - Too much booze. It's 9.5%. Come on. The honey finish is nice, but the overall beer isn't very impressive.

M - Too thin, too boozy. It's smooth, but it's not a world class stout mouthfeel.

O - How this sells is beyond me. Such a ripoff. I was hoping this highly rated version would be good. Incorrect. BCBS destroys this on every level at half the cost (if your store marks it up) or 1/3 the cost at reasonable prices. Drinking this makes no sense. It's a decent tick, but that's it. Don't recommend buying any of the eclipse beers.

Photo of rawla
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bluepalms Brewhouse on 01/03/2012.

Served in a 6 oz snifter.

I previously had the 18 year Elijah Craig at Bluepalms as well, so I hope I can have as close to a vertical tasting comparison as possible. I probably should have had both the 18 year and 12 year, but I couldn't resist the Abyss. Enough yapping..

A: Dark as night, with subtle lacing and tiny carbonation presence. Similar to the 18 year in these traits.

S: Bourbon all the way through. Not as much of a french vanilla presence in this as the 18 yr. Maybe the older cognac barrels add more complex notes in the nose. This has a much more alcohol presence in the smell. Some cocoa hints at the end.

T: Like a fine cognac. Buttery notes at the front of the tongue, but they quickly disappear and the bourbon notes take over. Charred wood bark and hints of toffee at the end are very subtle. More boozy than the 18 year old blend in my opinion.

M: Silky mouthfeel. Similar to the 18 year old blend.

O: I must say that i liked the 18 year blend a little better due to the added sweet notes from the older barrels. This 12 year blend is no slouch though. Sipping on this on a cold night is what the doctor ordered. This blend reminds you that it's a 10-11% beer that must be RESPECTED for full enjoyment. A treat.

A.

Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from 2009, numbered 1151 poured into a matching Eclipse snifter. The brew appears black in color with a thin line of brown around the edges. Some big brown bubble formation around the edges.

The smell is very roasted and boozy with hints of black licorice before getting solvent. A little bit of vanilla and caramel. As it warms up, it gets a sweet almost candy-like vanilla scent that is deceptive smelling.

The taste is like burnt molasses with an oaked taste that blends into caramel and toffee with chocolate covered raisons and anise. Quite boozy with a hint of bourbon tang across the finish mixed with oak, roast and earth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest to low level of carbonarion. It is earthen and very boozy but still shows the alcohol vibrantly with a little barrel presence. It is quite good and 4 years in the bottle has hardly mellowed this out but it has a soft amount of oxidation present.

Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cloudskipper for this bottle of '09 Elijah Craig. Just rec'd bottles of the current batch from the excellent folks at FiftyFifty, so I figured we'd celebrate by kicking the last one from '09. Split with my wife. As a side note, after the kick-ass Heaven Hill bottle, she insisted on auditing the pours to assure that I hadn't jacked her out of 1/5 of an ounce. Turn a girl on to big stouts & see what happens? Bottle #596.

Pours black, with a surprising twinkle of red around the edges. Smell is subdued, barrel, malts, good but not over-the-top.

The Elijah Craig version brings on inevitable comparisons to the Heaven Hill, which isn't quite fair (comparing anything to that near perfection). The whiskey is obviously different, rougher, giving off John Wayne vibes vs. the Ivy League tumbler of the 'Hill. The roughness bleeds through the taste. The malts seem unsettled, a bit at war with the stapled chocolates, long pull of nuttiness, chocolate, arsenic (OK, I haven't actually tasted arsenic, but I bet it's like this). Lots of minor chords, but the slash-and-burn whiskey rides roughshod over the subtleties.

Excellent beer. If it weren't fairly rare & expensive, this would be a great beer to crack open around a campfire deep in the wilderness after shedding my chaps for the day. Looking forward to trying more varieties of Eclipse.

Photo of Jonada
4.16/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber. 2012 vintage. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours dark brown with less than a finger of a creamy tan head. Once in the glass the body is opaque black. Nice retention and lacing.

Smell: Bourbon, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, hint of dark fruit, and butterscotch.

Taste: Follows the aroma. Bourbon, fudge, toffee, roasted malt, and a bit of oak presence. Sweetness is perhaps a tad high, bordering on cloying.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, thick chewy mouthfeel. Carbonation is on the lower end of medium. Medium alcohol warmth after the finish.

Overall: Really good bourbon barrel aged stout. Probably overpriced, but still really enjoyable.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to mlaroche for this trade way back when.
2009 - Bottle 78

Pours a wicked dark brown almost black color, not much of a head though and pours almost flat, no light penetration even around the edges, no lacing on the glass.

Smell has a huge bourbon molasses aroma, subtle hints of dark fruit, rich toasty malt backing that makes all the other characteristics blended so not to overwhelm the nose.

Taste starts out with a thick roasted/burnt malt flavor with a bit of a char aspect, the bourbon kicks in but after four years of age the burn has mellowed, molasses and dark fruit in the aftertaste, big thick chewy body that is hampered by a very low almost flat carbonation, not quite Lost Abbey bad but enough to hurt it from being excellent on all fronts.

Photo of GoGriz
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rec'd this bottle (#1105 from 2009) from jhenry04 in a killer trade. Thanks for giving me a chance to try this.

Appearance is lacking...really no head to speak of. Super thin ring of light colored foam aroud the edges and some neat looking spotting at the top of the liquid. Not inky black but close.

Smell is amazing! Bourbon, chocolate and hefty malt come through in a sweet and decadent scent that is exactly what I want out of a barrel aged beer.

Taste is dynamic. Flavors start with bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, scotch then coffee. Finish is bourbon with a tad too much heat and bitterness for me. Still, I can see where most would think this great. I guess while I get a lot of flavor out of this, it doesn't have as much integration as I'd like.

Mouthfeel is solid - medium carnonation and perfect amount of heft on the tongue.

Drinkability is hurt by the heat and bitterness. I really want to like this beer but I can't get myself to enjoy this one as much as I want to. That being said, I want to try the other versions and compare.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (12 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 1,388 ratings.