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

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye

Educational use only; do not reuse.

161 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 161
Hads: 475
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 16.51%
Wants: 266
Gots: 227 | FT: 23
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 161 | Hads: 475
Photo of Damian
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
Bottle run no.: BR/1 2014
Served in a snifter

Impressive appearance. The liquid was an inky dark brown, bordering on black. Thick and oily. With an aggressive pour, a one finger tall, creamy, bubbly, saddle brown crown topped the body. The head quickly dropped to a thin bubbly mass. Streaky lacing stuck all along the glass.

The nose was really roasty initially and contained a dry, powdery yeastiness. Loads of char and ashiness. Hint of espresso. As the head died down, strong spicy, boozy notes came forth. Apparently this was the rye barrel rearing its head. Quite intense but somewhat one dimensional. With time, licorice notes appeared. The spiciness took on an almost digestif-like quality.

The flavor profile was big and boozy but surpringly rounded not overly hot. Boatloads of roasted malts anchored the beer. Huge espresso notes. Good amount of sweetness to balance out the roast and the alcohol. Brown sugar was apparent. Bakers chocolate and molasses came through as well. Licorice was again noticeable. Like in the nose, there was a spicy quality, perhaps from the rye barrels. The beer finished with moderate roasty notes. Hints of char lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was absolutely incredible. Shockingly rich, thick and creamy. Uber viscous. Really smooth and supple. The liquid contained a fine, frothy, tongue blanketing effervescence. By mid session, the sugars in the beer left a thick, sticky film on my lips.

Of the four Fifty-Fifty Brewing's Eclipse Stout variants I have tried to date, this was one of the best of the bunch. While some seemed overly boozy and thinner bodied, this one displayed a noticeable smoothness in both flavor and mouthfeel. Perhaps the year and a half of age on this bottle helped to mellow out some of this beer's initial rougher edges.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into snifter 2014

A: pitch black body no light escaping around the edges. Head was very small darkish white didn't stay long coats the glass

S: bourbon, bakers chocolate, light vanilla, some oak, licorice lots of tobacco when it warms up

T: nice dark chocolate roasted malts licorice and whiskey taste getting a little bit of oakiness and not as sweet as some bourbon barrel stouts which is nice

M: nice feel a touch thin from the bourbon barrel but is coats the mouth nicely nice lingering on the tongue

O: very strong bourbon presence in this beer but the base beer still comes through with lots of chocolate and roasty malts I like the fact its not crazy sweet and its a little dry which I like.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.32/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I was aiming for the Spanish Rum version but ended up getting this. Underwhelming barrel taste, some spice from the rye barrel, super-thin body. Drinkable but overpriced and disappointing, even at $25.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours thick and black. Small dark tan head which does not last long. No lacing to speak of.

Rich, sweet aroma of roasted malt, brown sugar, rye whiskey, and dark molasses. Picking up a bit of caramel, espresso, and dark chocolate as well.

Sweet, almost syrupy flavor. Dark roasted malt and whiskey. Whiskey is smooth but strong even with some age on the beer. Brown sugar and molasses provide the sweetness. Some dark chocolate and alcohol which grows stronger as the beer warms.

Thick, sticky mouth feel. A bit syrupy. Moderate carbonation. Strong alcoholic burn in the aftertaste.

Nice barrel aged stout but definitely overpriced at $30+ for a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brief write-up. I like the spicy rye flavor coming from the barrel here. There are additional hints of chocolate and roast here, but this is all about the rye flavor. It's not as utterly drinkable as the Four Roses version, though the richness of this more than makes up for it. I'll even recommend this hesitantly, despite the ridiculous price.

3.84/5: Lovely rye barrel flavor right here

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Photo of biboergosum
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of IKR
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of dar482
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%

The beer comes in a black color, medium plus viscosity.

The aroma offers dried fruit, touches of whiskey, and barrel character.

The flavor follows of those notes of sweet raisins and plum. A sweet toffee quality in the middle. Not a highly robust stout with milk chocolate and mocha flavors throughout. A pop of whiskey enters the palate as well.

A well balanced barrel aged brew.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Bottle #29, from 2011.
Pours with a very faint, soapy, and brown head over a deep brown-to-soda colored body. Pretty good lacing.
Aromas are rich and inviting - extremely sweet. Molasses layered on top of molasses. And a kiss of regular syrup, too! Whiff of the oak barrel and whiskey, but very tempered.
Mouthfeel is slick, oily, and rich. Flavor is full of the sticky sweetness picked up in the aroma - In addition to the molasses, there's some vanilla, raw honey, and I'm also getting some black licorice, charred malt, and a touch of deep red fruit.
This held up fantastically over the 3 years... glad I finally popped it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

one of my favorite series of beers right here, always a special treat to crack into one, especially one I've never had, and even better one with a little age on it. this 2012 edition is one of my favorites of the lot so far, its just amazing. pours nice and dark, inky and shiny, radiant black. not as much head as i remember on others, but its not still either. the nose is really rye heavy, and i pick up a on of coffee too. a cool combination. the flavor shows a lot more vanilla and oak than the nose, and the rye is up front rather than in the finish. texturally interesting, and spicy at first sip. the finish is loaded with huge roasted coffee notes and the familiar honey sweetness present in all of these. rich and roasty, almost burnt malt, maybe char from the barrel or something, its really heavy in the finish. i like the rye influence on this. maybe not quite as much as the most recent high west rye edition, but its close, and may have receded in time a little bit. so mellow and well integrated though, i love it. thanks to claystation for dropping some half-birthday cash on this one and a few others for us to share. worth the price they as for these, and i rarely think that with beer so pricey.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
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

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Photo of brentk56
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 1915 of 2009

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a very modest head (not surprising given the style and the age) ; very leggy and plenty of lacing, however

Smell: Roast, chocolate, licorice, oak and rye

Taste: Roast and licorice, up front, with developing dark chocolate notes; by mid-palate, the rye and oak flavors kick in, bringing a bit of booze; the warming notes continue to build, after the swallow, so the finish was redolent of rye

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: I have been aging a number of FIftyFifty stouts for a few years, this one being the oldest, and plan to consume them over the next week; this, being the first (and the only one from 2009), sets a fairly high bar but I suspect it may get topped by one or more of the others

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of rich black chocolates notes with light residual sugar notes and some rye whiskey notes with some bitter roasted malt. Taste is a mix between some bitter roasted malt with some rich black chocolate notes and some rye whiskey notes with a somewhat harsh finish. Body is full with nice creamy and oily texture with good carbonation and not much apparent alcohol notes. Very enjoyable but still a bit harsher than some of the other varieties.

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Photo of jdb288
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours brown/black with tan head. Smell is boozy, dark fruit, molasses. Taste is all the same....raisins, plum, dark brown sugar, cherries. The rye is a nice accent. Warming alcohol. I have found these Eclipse beers to be truly great - some develop better than the others but they are great for the cellar. Love this series.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a creamy mocha head.

S: Vanilla, oak, sweet dark and milk chocolates, a bit of rye and alcohol in the nose.

T: Taste is vanilla, chocolate, some coffee, sweet and a bit tart, some rye.

M: Full bodied and creamy smooth.

O: Definitely one of the best Eclipse stouts, I'd give it an easy A/A+/97.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Espresso. Chocolate. Molasses. Whisky spice. Lavish creamy texture. ...yes, please!

Pushing against stillness, the oily black elixir still only amounts a dainty espresso-like creme with even the most assertive swirl of the glass. Its oil slick appearance is onyx-like with low-lying retention and lace; preferring brandy legging tendencies instead. It simply prefers to look like an abyss. ...and it seductively pulls me in.

Utmost savory aromas rise from the glass as the nose is haplessly captivated by its espresso roast, dark chocolate and spicy whisky scents. Supporting burnt caramel, molasses, vanilla, whipping cream and booze-soaked oak offers lushness and roundness as well as balance to the nose. A tinge of burnt currant, cherry, walnut and fennel all play a role in the beer's developing aroma.

Surprisingly just as savory and seductive to taste, a deep fudge-like chocolaty, creamy denseness greets the early palate. Its bittersweet taste invites vinous wood notes of savory soy sauce to go along with its brownie batter, chocolate covered espresso bean, and freshly roasted walnut character. A welcome reprieve comes from the spicy huskiness of burnt rye, pumpernickel croutons, and a peppery booze taste to slice through the dense chocolate tone. Charred woods with black-strap molasses, gently rolling whipping cream and vanilla round out its oaky finish.

Its dense and lavish texture wraps around the tongue like silk. Its well-woven alcohols allows its sweetness to seep into the mouth's soft tissues with ease. This allows for an intensification in taste and mouthfeel that latches on and won't let go. Its slow development warms the throat and only relaxes a bit as the alcohols assist in drying the palate and the pleasant powdery texture from oak and grain spice to offer a mild lift. But its low carbonation does little to pull the beer from the tongue in order to allow for full saturation of the taste buds with that simmering and sultry warmth.

Its immense residual sweetness requires high roast, high level of complexity, and help from outsourced barrel and whisky complements in order to balance its gargantuan malt display. But carefully sculpted, this beer resonates beautifully on the mouth, stomach and soul.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, one finger tan head with great lacing.

S-Moderate bourbon, chocolate, slight vanilla, tad bit of rye spicyness as well.

T-Starts off with whiskey characteristics. Semi spicy, some chocolate, not much coffee, tad vanilla, some roasted malt.

M-Light, not much carbonation, tad watery even.

O-The rye spicyness came through great, however at almost a year old the barrel notes were slightly diminished. Fresh this would be a lot better.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for blowing all his cash on these Eclipse beers and sharing this

Consumed 10/12/13

Appearance: Dark, rich brown - pours with a medium-sized, light tan head - leaves some lovely streaks of lacing

Smell: Big, big chocolate - like an epic chocolate cake - milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and dark chocolate - some roasty notes, coffee, and lightly burnt malts - caramel, molasses, and some lighter malts - nice depth in the malts, more interesting than I even expected - some really nice whiskey aromas, nicely integrated with the chocolate

Taste: Chocolate with whiskey, nicely melded together - milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate - brownies and chocolate cake - some milk chocolate as well - some great whiskey flavor - carefully treads the line between mild and overwhelming in a nice way - some nice wood and vanilla - some coffee and lightly burnt notes - some touches of dark fruit, finishes mostly with with whiskey, which is nice

Mouthfeel: Full body, nicely carbonated, absurdly, stupidly, remarkably soon

Overall: Like all of the Eclipse beers, this is best paired with the Twilight movie

This is great. I honestly think this may be the best barrel-aged stout I've had since GI BCBS Rare. And I'm not kidding. This is a chocolate cake with brownies on top, sprinkled with whiskey. I hope this beer isn't actually retired, I'd like to have to have a bottle of this in my cellar.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a smooth dark dark brown. Looks black in the glass. Small khaki head drips to a spotty cap and creamy bubbly collar Small hints of lacing.

Smell: Big hit of whiskey. Layers of vanilla, toffee, caramel, and barrel. Nice roasted compliment with a solid push of cocoa and chocolate. Coconut and a then more whiskey. A very faint char and smoky element. Sweet bready. Bite of alcohol in the back. Some dark fruit and a hint of licorice. Whiskey definitely dominates but lets the rest of the beer work its way through.

Taste: Cocoa-infused whiskey. Straight heat on the finish with a ton of cocoa and toasted malt up front. Loaded with caramel, vanilla, coconut, toffee, and barrel. Woody with some charred malt. Vaguely smoke in the back. Whiskey hits hard. Nice roasted malt profile. Dark cocoa and some bitter dark chcolate. Sweet quickly covered up by a short smooth whiskey. Some licorice and hints of old coffee in the back.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth with a just full body. Moderate carbonation gives it a bit of life and dries out the finish just a touch.

Overall: Heads you lose, tails I win.

It's a damn solid barrel aged stout. A bit more time would help take off some of the best and the upfront aggressive bourbon. Malts are solid and have a nice depth without pushing too far. Definitely good, but not $30 good.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 8.18.13
BR 1 2012

A - Pours a dark brown with a dark tan head that fades very slowly.

S - Lots of soy at first, then some whiskey, acidic wood.

T - Whiskey, sweet chocolate, bitter malt finish, good.

D - Good carbonation with a medium to heavy body.

O - Sweeter and lots of chocolate under lots of rye whiskey. The bitterness helped and adds depht. Very nice.

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Photo of yamar68
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big old thanks to hugonaut13 for this bottle!

It pours just like the other Eclipse beers... beautifully dark with a bit of coffee brown clarity. A thin khaki head retains well, producing spotty lace and slight booze legs.

Roasty, nutty malts layered with honeycomb, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, smooth sweet bourbon, a bit of fudge and cookie dough. It has a little bit of a Bourbon County thing going on in the nose. Very nice.

I'm getting a pretty heavy licorice flavor... not something that I typically notice with these beers... it's a welcomed change of pace. Toffee and honey leading into a chocolate bourbon sweetness. Char, honey and vanilla are present from start to finish. Awesome. Complex but approachable.


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Photo of Scotchboy
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second Eclipse variant, courtesy of Aaron and Kurtis - green-wax-dipped bomber, BR 1 2012, poured into my Rock Island snifter.

A: Opaque brown/black pour with a tanish head that shows good carbonation in the beer and retains/laces well.

S: Pretty big rye whiskey notes, more sweetness with some subtle alcohol harshness, vanilla and slight caramel for sure, with a noticeable honey component. Rye spice is apparent in the aromas of spirit...oaky smoothness...lots of milk and dark chocolate undertones, with suggestions of molasses.

T: Pretty much the same as the nose, milky smooth chocolate counter-acts the slight hot booziness of the rye whiskey...vanilla, roast, oak, spice, some honey, burnt sugars. Alcohol burn on the finish is noticeable, a touch more harsh in nature than the Evan Williams 2012 that I tried recently.

MF: Creamy, smooth, full bodied beer. Alcohol cuts the score and drinkability some.

O: Pretty nice barrel aged stout. I get some honey on this beer (don't know if that is common for Eclipse variants since they are brewed with honey), and the rye whiskey is quite noticeable. Lots of chocolate here too. This is a good beer, though better integration of flavors and less booze would be preferable.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle. Pours a pitch black color with a small tan head that goes down quickly. Scent is PACKED with rye whiskey aromas and sweet boozy scents. Smells like it's gonna be much more than 9.5%, but then again, the Eclipse bottles hide the booze very well in the flavor. Sweet vanilla and burnt sugar. The rye whiskey is definitely the key factor in the nose on this one. Some chocolate and hints of espresso with honey. Taste is just as it smells. Starts off pretty boozy...possibly the most boozy Eclipse I've had. IT still tastes damn good! Tons of rye spice and oak flavor. Lots of vanilla and coffee flavors. Dark chocolate with a nice, spicy, whiskey finish. Drinkability is high. Mouthfeel is full bodied with proper carbonation for a barrel aged stout. Overall, this is a fantastic variant of the Eclipse bottles. After this and the Rye Boise, I'm beginning to think a REALLY like beers aged in rye whiskey barrels.

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Photo of cvm4
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Bottle, Green label.

A - Pours black, what head there is dissipates quickly.

S - Spicy rye, oak, vanilla, molasses and dark chocolate.

T - An undiscernible mix of oak, bourbon and vanilla. The rye spices of the barrels play a part. Secondary flavors of molasses and light licorice.

M - Thick bodied and low carbonation, very velvety.

O - Boozy and sweet, but not overly licorice, which I can deal with. More!

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Photo of pants678
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Black, minimal head foam.

Little whiskey aroma, but not that strong.

First note is that the whiskey may be a bit heavy, maybe I should've gone with bourbon barrel. The richest dark chocolate, like 90% or higher cacoa, is the base. Maybe because it's printed on the bottle but there's a kind of honey quality to it. As strong as the whiskey is, it is not terribly hot rather it just about blends in. I'm not getting coffee that usually comes with the style.

An expected fairly harsh finish. Though it's barely carbonated it does not have marshmallow texture at all, more of a stinging beer that doesn't sit all that heavy.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 161 ratings.