Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

469 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 469
Reviews: 161
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 269
Gots: 222 | FT: 21
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 175 days in Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey barrels. The 2012 version contains a small amount of beer aged in Heaven Hill Pikesville Supreme Rye Whiskey barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 469 | Reviews: 161
Reviews by cdmillard:
More User Reviews:
Photo of warnerry
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011, bottle #1778

A - Pours near black with one and a half fingers of brown head. Head has decent retention, eventually fading to a thin cap. Spotty lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate, with some roasted malt, a sweet aroma that could be some residual honey or a bit of molasses, vanilla, a bit of wood and some faint alcohol.

T - Taste is a little sweeter than the aroma would suggest, but not overpowering sweetness. Again a big chocolate presence, combining bittersweet and milk chocolate. A bit of spicy spirit undercuts the chocolate. Some nice vanilla. Roasted malt comes in near the finish. Finishes with a bit of rye whiskey. Very tasty, but a touch too sweet.

M - Medium mouthfeel, a touch on the light side for an imperial stout, but I don't mind. Definitely not thin.

O - This is a very nice Eclipse variant, but the honey sweetness is a bit too apparent. Still very enjoyable. I like that these are relatively low on the abv scale for barrel-aged imperial stouts at "only" 9.5%, but the price tag will definitely keep me from revisiting, considering other options for the style.

Photo of standardcherry
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served into a snifter. 2012 vintage.

A: Dark brown/black color. Small brown head that disappeared quickly.
S: Lots of whiskey. A bit of spicy rye character blended with lots of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee.
T: Oaky and boozy. I like this. Spicy rye with vanilla, caramel and chocolate following. Roasty malt character.
M: Full bodied, rich and creamy. Soft carbonation. A touch of alcohol heat balanced well with the sweetness.
O: This is an excellent beer, I can't wait to try the other variants. Can't believe it's only 9.5%, feels much bigger.

Photo of mjtiernan
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Birthday beer!

22oz bottle poured into a small snifter. 2012 batch (BR2/2012).

A: Super black with medium brown head that disappeared pretty quickly leaving a thin ring around the edge. Lots of alcohol legs.

S: Beautiful bourbon and barrel character. Lots of vanilla, sugar cookie, chocolate and coffee.

T: Killer. All the complex flavors from the aroma are nicely incorporated. Can’t believe how smooth it is for being this fresh. Bourbon and chocolate are dominant. Vanilla, caramel, dark brown sugar in the middle and coffee and fusel alcohol in the finish.

M: Pretty darn drinkable for such a bold beer. A good amount of alcohol burn on the finish, but otherwise it’s pretty easy drinking.

O: Such an amazing beer. Tons of complexity. Makes my mouth happy.

Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Super Junior Market
San Diego, CA

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, with a finger's worth of bubbly brown head that eventually leaves the glass oily and shiny with small bubbles of stick.

The aroma is packed full of sweet vanilla and caramel, bourbon, wood, chocolate, and a little bit of coconut, though not quite as strong as the Elijah Craig version.

The bourbon flavors, wood, vanilla, and chocolate come together really quite incredibly well. I don't really pick up much rye character specifically and there's hardly a bit of alcohol heat.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. The best carbonated variation yet, at least in my experience.

Terrific.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super dark brown and black, thin brown ring forms on the top, less than 1/3" deep. Nice, sweeter than other barrel treatment aroma, chocolate, light bourbon, vanilla and oak.

Taste, one of the easiest drinking Eclipse varieties, this seems to be sweeter, lighter bodied, but still a good consistent thickness and mouthfeel to it. Very smooth, a pinch of smoke in it that is very complimentary to all of the other flavors. Has the least amount of coffee or bitterness that the other varieties hold, and even those are relatively low, but this one is all about sweet smoothness.

I even thought the '11 version on tap was better than the '10, but they are extremely similar, just the mouthfeel and consistency was better suited to my tastes this year around.

Photo of glid02
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - much obliged!

Pours black with a 1.5-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth dark chocolate with muted roasted malts. Also present are good amounts of vanilla aromas from the barrels and lighter amounts of tobacco.

Tastes phenomenal. Soft roasted malt flavors are met almost immediately with smooth dark chocolate flavors with hints of sweeter milk chocolate. Midway through the sip vanilla flavors work their way into things along with a faint rye spiciness. Finally, hints of tobacco flavors come into play near the end before all flavors meld together and carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very nice thickness with small and grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also great. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have more.

Overall this beer was all I was hoping it would be. Tasted alongside some other heavy hitters this was unquestionably my favorite. A nuanced big and barrel-aged stout that is well worth seeking out.

Photo of lnashsig
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle, number 357.

Many thanks to bhollas for hooking me up with this bottle. Poured from bottle into DFH snifter. Pours a pitch black color, a little tan head emerges and then settles quickly. Smell- BOURBON! This is a total booze bomb on the nose, smells like bourbon, chocolate, and molasses. Awesome. Taste- buttery, caramel, toffee, a little roasty bitterness, and the bourbon flavor at the end. WOW. This one is unbelievable good. I'm blown away. This might be my favorite bourbon barrel beer I have ever had and I don't have another one. This is near perfection. My mouth lingers with a buttery caramel bourbon flavor. No booziness at all here, its just super smooth.

Photo of biboergosum
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz, 'Forest Green®' waxed bottle, 2014 BR 1 vintage, some straight-ahead American rye whiskey barrel treatment here, it would seem.

This beer pours, as expected, a solid black abyss, with the faintest of basal cola edges, and three fingers of weakly foamy, and generally just over the top bubbly brown head, which leaves some stellar Mercator projection sudsy lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of gritty, grainy caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa powder, relatively understated rye whiskey barrel astringencies - vanilla and spicy grain alcohol, mostly - roasted coffee beans, a hint of cheap black licorice, and plain earthy, weedy hops. The taste is sugary caramel/toffee malt, milky coffee, licorice candy drops, muddled chocolate syrup, and a rather lessened barrel character - prominent, as such, vanillan, spicy rye grain, and subtle woody notes - with a surprisingly more red wine, Madeira-esque booziness presiding overall, and those pesky earthy, weedy hops still striving for attention amongst the furor.

The carbonation is quite light and unobtrusive in its plainly underwhelming frothiness, the body kind of on the low side of medium weight (yeah, those barrels be trippin', yo!), and generally smooth, a certain unassailed (say whut?) creaminess trumping as things warm a tad. It finishes on the sweet side, the admittedly tempered cocoa, caramel, and wood grain-borne and boozy vanilla ruling the roost.

A tasty enough big-ass Imperial Stout, the exact Bourbon County goodness better left to more appreciable American whiskey connoisseurs than I. All this wag can say is that the whiskey component is quite restrained, manifesting just enough to stake a claim, but one that you kind of have to get really close to in order to know what the fuck they are saying, if y'all know what I mean.

Photo of twowheelssoar
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle, brought it back from our last trip to Truckee. A friend had two bottles, and he didn't like it!

Poured into a classy hotel tumbler. Pours very dark with a thin light tan head. The rad disappears quickly. Aroma is of bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate. Tastes of more fudgey chocolate, smooth vanilla and well-integrated bourbon. The feel is on thicker side, with a nice mellow carbonation level. A very enjoyable, slightly grainy and roasty coffee finish develops as it warms. Seems like there are lots of bottle variation with the Eclipse series, and I think I got a good one here. Really mellow with lots of depth, enjoyed this a lot.

Photo of nkersten
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured at FoBAB into taster. Program says this was aged in Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye barrels. Pitch black with brown hues at edges with a mocha head that settles to a ring at the edge of the glass. Smell is bourbon and alcohol up front with a spicy rye and oak aroma following. Taste is a bit spicy and bitter up front with dark roasted malt. Bourbon, vanilla, some oak, and a dark chocolate flavor in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium coating with a moderate/light carbonation. Drinkability is very good - a well balanced imperial stout. This was one of my favorite stouts of the night - the rye is very apparent in the taste and smell.

Photo of Sammy
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Certainly the best tasting, smoothest of the half dozen I have had to date in this series. Black, lacey. Coffee but also nicely undercarbonated. Very good drinkability. Bottlefrom Premier split with Liam.A moderate roast characteristic. Well integrated whiskey.

Photo of DJButters
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage. Cracked from the fridge and warmed up over drinking.

A: Darkness warshed over the Dude - darker'n a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night. Thin for such a dark stout... minimal lacing & head.

S: Chocolate / malts / oak. Wasn't this brew bal aged? Minor smell of Bourbon here. No kind of alcohol smack in the face on this one.

T: Just a smooth velvety texture. Perfection. Fantastic. The drinkability on this beer is simply top notch. For many -bal brews a 22oz could be an intimidating feat however a 750ml would be feasible here. As the beer warms the bourbon notes become more pronounced and the rye flavors begin to surface. I'm not sure what people are saying about wood flavors and chemical aftertaste, I have smooth oak and faint bourbon notes.

M: Not over done on carb, like a velvet wash on your tongue. Like a velour jumpsuit for your mouth. Another masterpiece.

Overall: An amazing beer worthy of the accolades. Perhaps the best Eclipse I've ever had thus far. Excited for my Rittenhouse 2011 now.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.86/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff (ipa247) for this one. 2009 vintage. Green waxed and capped 22oz. bottle poured into a Southampton oversize snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Beer pours near flat. No head. Great legs with spotty lacing and no cling. Beer is the standard opaque black.

Nose is very robust. Smoked malt and wet wood. Chocolate, brownie, booze, and sweet soy sauce. Not very stout-like in the traditional sense as the barrel characteristics almost completely cover the other flavors. But still, complex and very nice.

Opens charred wood. Smoky. Chocolate and sweet soy sauce with ethanol lingering in the background. Some molasses in the middle with notes of smoked malt, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder. End is sweet soy sauce and barrel notes. Woody. Finishes milk chocolate and molasses. Aftertaste is ethanol. Solid.

Medium bodied with very low carbonation. Smooth and oily in the mouth and with a warm tingle going down. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste. No real heat to speak of and very very smooth.

This sits far behind the Pappy and Elijah Craig versions of the 50/50 but its still pretty decent. I'm not a huge fan of smoked wood flavors but this beer has great complexity and an exceptional mouthfeel. Worth trying.

Photo of dirtylou
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, green wax, 2009 vintage, #1803

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, dark body with auburn highlights, minimal bubbly carbonation, lace is just a light swirl on the surface

smell: light, but nice - rich caramel, a bit of char, subtle rye whiskey notes, toasted hazelnut

taste: not an overly big stout, but the flavors are pretty solid - rich creamy caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, rye, nice barrel notes that really open up as this one warms up. The spice from the rye plays well - would love to try some other variations

mouthfeel: relatively light, velvety

overall: nice stuff, thanks lou91

Photo of Corkpuller
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Jet black with a 1" tan head which settles rapidly, leaving some decent lacing

S: LIght Roastiness, dark chocolate, burnt raisin, some complex spice aromas and very good integration of barrel aromas

T: Great mouthfeel. Oily and creamy but pretty lithe for an imperial stout. The hop bitterness blends masterfully with the roastiness. The lower abv suits it really well. Flavors are similar to nose but more intense. Finishes really long with just a tinge of warmth.

O: Outstanding. I was a huge skeptic of this beer but it reminds me a lot of Parabola, but in a lighter, more drinkable style. I drank the bottle in one sitting. I will not be trading the rest of mine.

Photo of nickd717
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at City Beer. This was slightly better than the Elijah Craig version and about on par with the '08 Pappy Van Winkle.

This beer pours black and viscous with a small brown head and not much lacing. Nice and oily looking with some legs going on.

Aroma is full, smooth, and awesome. Rye whiskey and oak barrel notes well-balanced with roast, rich chocolate, and vanilla.

Flavor is also very intense and well-balanced. Extremely smooth Heaven Hill rye, oak, vanilla, roast, dark chocolate, coffee, and maybe even some dark fruit notes in there.

Smooth, slick, and full on the palate. This is a case where the awesome mouthfeel noticeably adds to your enjoyment of the beer.

Not really drinkable in large quantities, but hey, this is a whiskey barrel aged stout, so if you're swigging it like it's water, you should probably seek professional help. For what it is, I can drink a hell of a lot of it. I was brutally hung over from both beer and cigars, and even a bit barrel aged out, but this was still amazing nonetheless and not a chore to finish the glass. Overall, this is an awesome beer, no question about it. Highly recommended.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into an Eclipse snifter. 2012 bottle.

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

Smell - Whiskey smell but nothing like the other treatments. Sharp alcohol aroma. Chocolate.

Taste - Dark chocolate flavor. Whiskey but not a lot of barrel. Chocolatey sweet finish.

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

Overall - Rye has nothing on Bourbon. Tasty base beer. Nice whiskey but not quite bourbon.

Photo of beerhan
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kecarl7 for this one

A-split three ways into sniffers. Dark black with a faint cocoa head. Relatively thin body. I must admit i did not have high hopes for this one.

S-smells like chocolate and molasses with a bourbon aroma.

T-absolutely fantastic taste, lots of honey and rye up front giving it a slightly bitter bourbon taste. I can't stop thinking about how good this was.

M-thin but chewy, low carbonation but very impressive for the light body.

O-this is a delicious beer but a bit thin. Drinkability is odd just because I expected more resistance going down.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown body with just a slight expresso colored head that lasts less than a minute after the pour.

The whiskey smell is front and center. It's nice an boozy with vanilla, oak, and spicey notes undeniably from the rye. There's a light roasty smell, too.

The Eclipse series are just fantastic at getting the right amount of whiskey notes in it. Heavy vanilla, caramel, and a light spice. The stout contributes chocolate and roasted barley.

The mouthfeel is a catch 22 for me. Yes, it's thin. But I feel like that thin body is what helps accentuate the booze.

Overall, I thought this was another fantastic Eclipse, as usual. I just hate the $30 price tags on these and because of that I think there are very few left in my future.

Photo of IKR
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage
11.9% ABV

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a moderate dark beige head that gradually faded.

Smell: Brown sugar, mild Whiskey, and mild coffee/roasted malt aromas. Not a bad nose but the barrel aromas are fairly mild.

Taste: The rye Whisky bal-aging features prominently with some spicy notes that are not present in the Bourbon bal-aged Eclipses. The profile also features roast malts, mild vanilla, brown sugar and tannic oak notes. The finish is a bit drier than the Bourbon bal-aged variants ending with some tannic oak notes and mild hop notes. Fairy restrained alcohol presence.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. I'm not sure if it's the Rye whiskey but this variant seems a bit thicker than the others I've had.

Overall: Good beer. As always, it's a treat to see the different barrel effects on the base beer. I like the drying effect the Rye Whiskey adds in comparison to the other Eclipse variants.

Photo of thagr81us
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to largadeer for sharing this one at Beechwood BBQ after the Bruery Reserve Society Party. 2009 Vintage! Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured pitch black witha minimal light tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, and slight alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, chocolate, and alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent. Had a very nice flavor and aroma going on here. Even though the flavors weren't very complex, they were still quite nice and worked well together. An absolute must try given the chance.

Photo of hopsbreath
2.9/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Shared at ramnuts house by our host. Black13, TulipSnifter, Bird, Mini, and Growler were there with us on 1-15-11. Review from notes. 2009 bottling.

A: Dark brown, plum edges, moderate sized froth ring.

S: Muted brown alcohol, a touch of citrus house cleaner, rum soaked raisins, and what seems to be a touch of oxidation come through here.

T: Marshmallow, a heat similar to chile's, nutmeg, bitter cocoa.

M: A thin silkiness helps the low carbonated body move easily and the clean finish make me go back for another sip quickly.

D: Meh... Compared to some of the other big barrel aged beers we had that night, this seemed a little week.

Photo of Treyliff
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle, labeled "bottle No. GR/1", poured into teku glass

A- pours pitc black color with a small foamy and creamy khaki colored head that eventually reduces to a ring around the edges, leaving behind some lacing spots as it settles

S- big spicy rye whisky notes up front mix with sweet chocolaty malt and roasted espresso. Complimenting these are aromas are juicy oak barrel, black currant, caramel, charred marshmallow, black licorice, dark cherry and some nutty notes. Aromas keep opening up as it warms

T- dark chocolaty fudge and currant with roasty coffee flavors, fresh cream sweetness, spicy and peppery rye mix with big barrel juice notes, giving it a good whisky kick. Underlying honey flavor adds a subtle sweetness that stands up nicely to the bold notes of spicy rye from the barrel. Closes out with charred oak, with hints of vanilla, black cherry & whisky

M- medium body with low carbonation lead to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a silky smooth finish, alcohol is hidden very well yet provides just a subtle warmth at the end

O- two years in the bottle and this beer is drinking awesomely. The addition of honey gives it a sublet sweetness that compliments the barrel notes artfully. I love beers aged in rye whisky barrels, and this one was a fine example of how it should be done

Photo of claaark13
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010, bottle #809 poured into a DFH chalice.

A - Pretty dark with a 1/2" head that quickly turns into minimal lacing. Sticks a little to the side of the glass. Bubbles on the side are evident of low carbonation. Lacing sticks around for a while.

S - Little bit of dark fruits, little bit of chocolate, slight woody/toffee.

T - Dark fruits, little bits of sweetness, slightest heat on the back part of the flavor. Little bit of chocolate in the middle. A lot of oak and some dryness in the finish. I'm finding more woodiness in this treatment than the other variants.

M - Medium body with low carbonation.

O - Not a bad beer, but not my favorite of the variants. I'll be interested to try this next to the '09 in the coming months.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened this last week. Poured into a CBS Snifter. 2011 version.

Appearance – Pours into the glass with a dark brown but not black color. Around a finger of mocha colored head is achieved with a relatively vigorous pour.

Smell – Bittersweet cocoa, burnt malts, vanilla, bourbon, and wood char.

Taste – Very similar to the aroma. Overall a more bitter, char flavored stout which can be seen through burnt malts, the bitter chocolate, and a spicy earthiness (rye no doubt). Slight vanilla and alcohol from the bourbon.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, thinner than I was expecting from other variations, finishes dry.

Overall – Not my favorite Eclipse by a long shot. Honestly, this was a chore to drink/get through and I have enjoyed all my other Eclipse experiences more. Definitely not worth an almost $30 price tag.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 469 ratings.