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
93
outstanding

159 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 159
Hads: 470
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.03%
Wants: 268
Gots: 224 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 159 | Hads: 470
Photo of gumushie
2.42/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Vintage 2010 bottle. Since the Four Roses bottle I got a little better at cutting through the wax. Poured at 42° into a Duvel tulip.

The Pour: Like the Four Roses, this beer is characteristically very dark with a rich brown/tan head that disappears rather quickly. Very short head as well, maybe 1/2 in. at most and little lacing.

The Aroma: Some rich dark chocolate, coffee, sweet sweet maltiness and tobacco. Unfortunately the aroma was over taken by a very pervasive hot alcoholic nose.

The Taste: After smelling it it was hard to get the alcohol our of my head. The mouthfeel was medium viscous and for the most part quite smooth. However, it was so hot with alcohol that many of the flavors were lost immediately. There was some bitterness in the unbalanced alcohol and the rye seemed to translate as 'acrid' here. It seems other people have experiences similar inconsistencies in the bottling. This one must have been near the end of the barrel.

Overall: This was quite a disappointment. I've loved 2009 vintage Elijah Craig and 2010 Four Roses. Both were phenomenal beers and I was expecting the Heaven Hill was to be no exception. I couldn't finish it which is very rare. Perhaps I got an off bottle but at $27 a pop it's even harder to afford than it is to find. It would have been nice to see how the rye whiskey could have contributed to the generally very chocolaty and coffee flavors of the base beer. I have one last bottle of this barrel's to hold off for a few years and see if it mellows and improves. (1,524 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.86/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage, bottle #1653. Green wax so I have the correct listing.

This is my fourth variant of this year (EC 12, EC 18, and BT blend) and fifth ever ('10 EW).

3.5 A: I've been very impressed with the appearance of these so far, but this one doesn't have the same luster. Black color. Just around one finger of creamy tan head. The retention isn't even close to as good as the other ones and much, much less lacing is left.

2.5 S: The nose on this is easily the worst so far as well. First of all, the rye doesn't bring out the aromas in the base stout (I'm looking for you, chocolate). The rye itself is quite peculiar smelling. It has a musty, old grain smell to it with a light vegetal component backing it up. Booze is kept in check.

3.0 T: The taste is marginally better than the nose. For a barrel-aged beer with such a wimpy stout as a base, the barrel aging has to be done with perfection and the barrel used has to have had a good previous tenant. I'm not sure what the issue is with this one. I've never had Rittenhouse Rye before. Anyway, chocolate and a light roast from the stout. Earthy spicy rye with the same mustiness found in the nose. Fortunately, the vegetal component is quite weak. Overall, it's still not bad tasting and through all the BB stouts I've had, it comes in right about at the middle.

2.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. This is the least creamy of the variants I've had. Pump this thing up!

3.0 D: This is the worst variant across the board that I've had so far. Definitely not worth the price. (1,572 characters)

Photo of hopsbreath
2.9/5  rDev -31.1%
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. (644 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
2.91/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Re-review after a couple of bottles of the 2010 edition. Main differences from the 2009 are highlighted. Note: the Eclipse series greatly benefits from being served at 62 F or so.

S: When cold (50-55 F), the beer is almost all charred oak, cigar (tobacco, earth, smoke). As it warms to 60+ F, licorice, chocolate, and a mild rye spice emerge. At 65 F or so they blossom to the right balance where they overpower the charred oak somewhat.

T: Parallels the nose. I didn't have this particularly cold, but it was VERY sensitive to temperature. Initially it was charred, cigary oak -- just like I remembered from the 09, but that was all I could pick up. Only when it warmed a few more degrees did other flavors emerge to balance the harsh, bitter barrel notes. The beer gave off elements of licorice, dark chocolate, and a rye spice. I miss the coconut character of last year.

M: A semi-dry finish. This feels thinner than last year's, though the flavor is ample and it coats the tongue nicely. It's just not a viscous, chewy imperial stout. I prefer the flavor of the Evan Williams bourbon, but this one is much smoother. It's a wash.

O: The two bottles of this that I had were very different from each other. One was pretty much all barrel char, and the other was actually rye whiskey (lightly peppery), licorice, chocolate, vanilla, and dark fruit with a pronounced charred bitterness. I'd give the first a C+ and the latter an B+. Averaging the scores across multiple bottles, including the 2009s.

When they bring the bottling in-house, these beers are going to be phenomenal. Right now, though... The packaging (and resulting variation) is really hurting this beer. At $25 a pop I can feel the pain.

~~~

Original review (2009 edition):

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. Side by side with the Elijah Craig.

I LOVED this version on tap, but out of the bottle, not as much. I've heard these batches were not blended, so it may be luck of the draw as to whether your bottle is world-class or merely spectacular. This one was the latter.

A: Pours a very dark brown (not black), slightly more translucent than the Elijah Craig version. The head is fairly long-lasting; it is a half-finger of mocha colored foam that caps the brew nicely. When I swirl the beer, it's a little leggy, which belies its relatively light body (see below).

S: Coconut, vanilla, sharp tannins (compared to the soft, buttery ones found in the Elijah Craig), rye, chocolate, and some cigar.

T: Coconut, vanilla, and chocolate up front. Rye whiskey is apparent in the mid-taste; it's not as pronounced as the bourbon was in the Elijah Craig version. Much more restrained. I pick up more dark fruit than I did in the Elijah Craig bottle. But it's balanced out by the more pronounced bitterness of this beer, which has an earthy / ashy and tannic finish that reminds me of cigars.

M: Semi-dry finish. Not viscous. It's a little heftier than the Elijah Craig, but the carbonation is similarly low and the two beers are equally smooth. If you like chewy, syrupy stouts, you won't enjoy this one. It's packed with flavor but the body is attenuated enough that it doesn't weigh heavily on your stomach. And that helps the next category...

D: I can easily finish a bomber of this in one sitting. That's not something I can say often; even a 12oz can of Ten FIDY can be a challenge for me these days. This beer is packed with tremendous flavor. But I have to say, after my side by side, I preferred the Elijah Craig bottle. (3,514 characters)

Photo of craytonic
3.18/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the 2010 release party bottling. Shared with Habmike, Kkipple, SpencerDB, RobOrb and Advent. Many thanks to a kind mule.

Appearance: Looks basically like the rest of the 50/50 barrel aged lineup; small head, some lacing, dark pour with some mahogany brown edges.

Smell: This was the only 50/50 barrel aged offering I tasted in a side-by-side where the bourbon did not dominate, it really took the backseat to an unpleasant roast/char taste. In the trunk there was some vanilla, oak, caramel, and blackstrap molasses.

Taste: Again a roast/char element dominates the bourbon; for the rest of the lineup I could easily and quickly pick out exactly what bourbon had been used. Not for this one. In the background I got some vanilla, honey and blackstrap molasses notes. It seems as if the base beer itself was different for this one, but I would assume they use the same beer for each. Very hot.

Mouthfeel: This one was even thinner than the rest of them somehow.

Drinkability:

We did a big side-by-side and I would rate them in this order: Pappy 50/50; Evan Williams 50/50; Elijah Craig 50/50; 4 Roses 50/50; Heaven Hill 50/50 (noticeably worse than the rest); Brandy 50/50 (Brandy being a drain pour). It was fun to try them side-by-side, each is incredibly distinct and there are certainly some winners and some losers.

I hate saying each of these smells like bourbon but they truly do smell like the brands of bourbon they used for the barrels. If you have not had each of the bourbons several times (enough times to pick them out of a 7 bourbon lineup) you won't have the fun wow factor of smelling and tasting each of them. (1,638 characters)

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.28/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

'09 bottle

Black liquid with a small khaki head.

Pretty heavy whiskey in the nose for a stout of this vintage. Some very slight smoke and pepper, milk chocolate, vanilla and oak. Milk chocolate and vanilla seems to be the trend in series.

The whiskey is much more subdued in the flavor than the nose leads on. Milk chocolate, spice/black pepper, and some roasted grain peeks through. Pretty straight forward for a BA stout with a dry finish from the rye. Reminds me of a Bourbon County Stout but a little less bold and lacking that richness and much drier. (559 characters)

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.32/5  rDev -21.1%
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. (201 characters)

Photo of NorCalYeti
3.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage, bottle #954

taste- baker's chocolate, toasted malt in the finish, dark fruit, burnt toast

color- dark cola

clarity- pours clear and dark

smell- whiskey, heat, soap, green apple

body- somewhat oily on the tongue with a hop bite at the front of the mouth, mellow/smooth mouthfeel, medium-weight, woody-hoppy long finish

appearance- mocha-colored carbonation after the pour but it dissipates quickly to a faint ring around the glass, average-poor lacing

overall impression- rye and whiskey dominate the flavor profile, seems one note and out of balance

notes and comments- in some ways i think this has passed it's peak, i'm underwhelmed and for the price it should be delivering a lot better in my opinion. really didn't come together for me as an artisan barrel-aged beer. i have heard similar reviews and now i'm convinced, i would stay away from this one in the future. not a fan of rye-style beers (e.g., ruthless rye, etc.). i kept an open mind with this one but just wasn't feelin' it

beer spy- got in on the pre-order through fiftyfifty, 2011, 22oz

glassware: tulip (1,094 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
3.57/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle, shared with friends over the holidays. My notes...

A- Pitch black with an off white/tannish head. The head dissipates quickly, and leaves minimal lacing. The beer pours very thin.

S- Spicy oak and some whiskey notes. Peat, chocolate, molassas, and an all around boozy sweetness.

T- The rye and chocolate are pretty over powering at first, a spicy sort of booziness. Transitions to dark roasted malt with more peaty barrel. Very intense initially, and still pretty hot.

M- As it appeared, this beer was way too thin. Not bad on carbonation. The beer was just so astringent though, largely due to the rye treatment I would guess.

O- Overall this was probably my least favorite of the 2010 Eclipses. The Rye is just overboard, and is not my favorite alcohol. It was just very spicy and biting, which was not the case with all of the other Eclipses.

-GFunk (871 characters)

Photo of InebriatedJoker
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottle 241 -2010 release -Thanks Schwaeh.

A; Black with minimal head , slight lacing, decent carbonation.

S: Caramel, toffee, slight bourbon, chocolate.

T: Vanilla , slight toffee /caramel, chocolate, bourbon.

O: Overall this is my least favorite of the Eclipses Iv'e had ,It's by no means bad , just not on par with the rest of the series. (344 characters)

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 22oz bottle to tasting glass at my 30th Beerthday Bash on 9/23/11
*From notes

Vintage 2010

A: Rich brownish-black. A decent pour yields a .75 finger head that fades rather fast and little lacing.

S: Charry grains, a touch of earth and coffee. But what's really prevalent here is the boozy rye.

T: Not quite what I was hoping for. It certainly isn't bad, yet it's still too hot, and the rye on this is too over the top for me. It's one thing to use rye in your wort, and something entirely different to use a rye bourbon barrel. In this case, it's added a bit of a burnt astringency to the beer that's slightly offputting. The base here is still on-point, I'm just not digging the treatment.

M: A bit thinner then I'd like, yet it's not a failure. The carbonation could use a bit of touching up, yet I'm fully aware that's the barrel talking.

O: FiftyFifty's Rittenhouse Rye Eclipse was the bronze medal winner in our Eclipse tasting. But when you consider we only tried three of 'em, that means this one's trailing in back. (#1: Four Roses, #2: Evan Williams).

Not a bad beer by any means, and I'm really pleased to see the brewmaster change it up a bit with the rye barrel. In the future though, I'll veer away from this, dedicating my cellar space to the Four Roses treatment. But don't misunderstand: I'd never turn this down if offered, as it's still head and shoulders above many Imperial Stouts. (1,413 characters)

Photo of muttyd
3.7/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this side-by-side with the Elijah and the JD.

This one was better than the Jack, but wasn't nearly as good as the Elijah.

Pours black with a faint tan head that fades into a slight ring (like the other two). Aroma is of roasted/burnt malts, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Smells a lot like bourbon county stout. Flavor is similar to the nose. This is a sweet beer. Almost like a chocolate bourbon milkshake. Bittersweet chocolate chips? Very good beer, really enjoyed this one. (479 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
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. (522 characters)

Photo of pants678
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
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. (624 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.72/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a deep mahogany to black with a very small tan head, bubbly.

S: Not much at first, but some coaxing gives a nice barrel smell. Heavy malt, brown sugar, pretty standard.

T: Rye barrel, dark chocolate, heavy sweet malt. Fairly well balanced, not as full-flavoured as I would hope, but certainly enjoyable.

M: Full-bodied, rich, smooth, soft carbonation for its style.

O: A solid -bal beer, but the bottle price is certainly pushing it. Glad I've been able to try a lot of the Eclipse Line on-tap. (531 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage, bottle #2029

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a two finger, light mocha head that very slowly settles into a lasting cap/ring. Very good retention with streaks of lacing left behind.

Strong barrel presence in the aroma with lots of earthy, toasted oak, vanilla, coconut and spicy rye whiskey character countered by a slightly roasted chocolate malt backbone. The spicy rye and whiskey notes really stand out along with wood barrel, coffee bean, oatmeal and bakers chocolate. Dessert/cake like dessert character underneath the whiskey.

On the fuller end of medium bodied with a stronger whiskey barrel presence than the aroma suggests. Very strong dry oak/toothpick character along with prominent whiskey/boozy heat that overpowers the other notes a bit too much for my preference. Slightly peaty with lots of spicy rye and alcohol sweetness dominating the malt backbone. Underneath, there is some roasted malt and sweet chocolate flavor but it's overwhelmed by the wood, rye and whiskey flavors. Decent but a bit harsh and one dimensional making it tougher to drink and not as interesting as the other treatments. (1,144 characters)

Photo of jethrodium
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 650ml bottle generously shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. Pours a black that is cola brown at the edges when held up to the light. A small tan head settles to a ring and leaves decent lacing on the glass. The aroma is oak, light alcohol, rye whiskey, marshmallow, caramel, and some light cherry. The taste has a light sweetness with rye bourbon, vanilla, alcohol, caramel, and some light roast. The finish has some light alcohol along with some twangy rye. Light bodied, like all the Eclipses with low carbonation. Pretty enjoyable. I've liked the Elijah Craig and Four Roses versions better, but this is still an enjoyable beer. (638 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.84/5  rDev -8.8%
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 (390 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
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. (1,242 characters)

Photo of xpimptastikx
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage served at ~55F into a tulip.

A - Pours a slightly thin dark brown with a finger of milk chocolate head, leaves good lacing.

S - The nose is disappointing. It's dominated by rye wiskey, a little char, and maybe a glimpse of some dark fruit.

T- Very similar to the nose, but more balance. The dark fruits and slight spice of the rye is very nice, but there is a lingering alcohol presence that is reminiscent of taking a shot without the heat. strange, but I'm becoming used to it and it seems to be going away the warmer the beer gets and the more I drink.

M/D - carbonation is spot on, giving it an oily yet creamy mouthfeel. Drinkability suffers significantly when this beer drops below 55F.

I'm pretty pleased with the first 50/50 Eclipse that I've tried and quite excited to get to the other 2 now! (819 characters)

Photo of SpdKilz
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
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. (825 characters)

Photo of jdb288
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
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. (331 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.89/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (1,832 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My mate Doops and I were lucky enough to be able to try the entire 2010 - 2008 series. This was the fourth bottle we opened, and the first of the '09 bottles. A big thanks to everyone who made putting this set together possible, and a big cheers to GoGriz for the trade on this one. Thanks man!

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
Bottle: 1454
Wax: Green

APPEARANCE: Pretty much the same as the 2010 bottles. Thin, transparent pour yields a small, medium looking, slightly bubbly, tan head with decent retention. Head fades relatively quickly to a faint wisp and ring. Black body, quite transparent, with no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Just too light and transparent for the style, unfortunately.

SMELL: Very similar to the EW bottle we opened before. A bolder nose with lots of barrel notes. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some milk chocolate. Notes of roasted malts and dark chocolate come out as it sits, but the barrel is really the star of the show. Nice nose and perhaps the extra time in the bottle has allowed the base beer to peak through ever so slightly. A touch more complex than the EW.

TASTE: Again, this one is similar to the EW. Lots of bourbon up front and the whole way through the journey. Bourbon and strong flavors of oak, vanilla and milk chocolate with just a touch of roasted malt flavors at the swallow as well. Aftertaste is bold and very persistent with a strong barrel presence and a touch of roasted malts acting as a reminder that there actually is a base stout under here. Bold and flavorful.

PALATE: Similar to the Christian Brothers, but with more staying power. Medium body and lower levels of carbonation. Heavy and thick enough on the palate, creamy enough as well, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Pretty nice.

OVERALL: Behind the superior EC ’09, the HH was probably my second favorite of the series. This one was quite bourbon barrel forward, much like the EW, but was more flavorful and slightly more complex. A solid feel helped this one along as well. I hear the ’10 bottling didn’t work out as well, unfortunately, but we were quite pleased with this ’09 vintage. This one and the EC ’09 are probably the only two I’d make an effort to track down again. Good stuff! (2,312 characters)

Photo of claaark13
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
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. (736 characters)

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.