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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

419 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 419
Reviews: 153
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 259
Gots: 204 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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 added by: Jmoore50 on 12-29-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 419 | Reviews: 153 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akorsak
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to yourefragile for this bottle, #358 from the 2010 release (green wax).

A: The imperial stout is dark and black. That is all. The bottle was a bear to open though, a lighter was used but not harmed. Even the cracking of the cap didn't cause a hiss. The head, small on pour, disappears shortly thereafter.

S: Wonderful nose, the barrel aromas, wooden and glorious, have vanilla and the spicy heat that rye whiskey adds. Deep roasted stout blackness counters the sweetness. Graham comes through as well, sweetening the darkness. A very enjoyable beer to sniff.

T: Sweet whiskey goodness! The Heaven Hill rye is stupendous, imparting sweet vanilla and spicy rye, very hot with a burn that lingers. Roasted malts, dark with chocolate and burnt toast, are a foil to the barrel. The wood, oaken and rich, seemlessly brings the stout together. Despite the heat, it never feels too strong. There is more flavor, more bite near the finish. I gargled (or at least swished) a sip, mouthwash-like, before swallowing and was impressed by the flavors that came through -- spicy with a mild mintiness even.

M: My one bottle for the night, and what a doozy it is. Dark and sweet, spicy rye adding a sharp bite. I'm foggy and I like it.

akorsak, Mar 17, 2012
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.

SpdKilz, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of trapper2408
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

trapper2408, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of hoppymcgee
4/5  rDev -6.5%

hoppymcgee, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of brystmar
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed the '09, '10, and '11 as part of last night's bottle share. Thanks to rlmartin, rmjavanut, hoppymcgee, and whartontallboy for contributing to this 11-bottle Eclipse tasting! This review is of the 2010 Heaven Hill, as that was my favorite of the three.

Aroma was immediately clear that this was a different beer than the '09. More rich and enveloping, more roasty malt & chocolate, more refined whiskey character.

Taste was similarly improved over the '09 and '11. It reminded me much more of an imperial stout with barrel treatment than the black whiskey-flavored beverages that poured from the other bottles. Booze character was tame and rounded, melded nicely with the stout base.

The '09 and '11 were both noticeably more boozy and put more emphasis on the barrel than on the stout. '10 HH tied the '11 Buffalo Trace as my 2nd favorite and trailed only the '11 EC18 for best in show. But honestly, I was unimpressed across the board with most of these beers. Bourbon County Stout is far superior to all of them except EC18. Very glad I got to try them all, but EC18 is the only one I'd seek out again.

brystmar, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of whartontallboy
4/5  rDev -6.5%

whartontallboy, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of russwbeck
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was enjoyed at a tasting that included 5 Eclipse variations: Elijah Craig 12 and 18, Four Roses, Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye, and Brewmaster's Grand Cru.

2011 Vintage Bottle #361. $25 for a 22oz bottle.

A: All of them pretty much poured the same. Finger or two of brown to light brown head. The color is black with noticeable bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

S: Roasted aroma, chocolate and honey provide the sweetness, bourbon and vanilla add wonderful notes as well. The 18 did smell a bit better, but this was top notch.

T: The taste is definitely on another level, right with the Elijah Craig 18 year, but probably a bit under. The bourbon, vanilla, and oak are integrated really nicely with the chocolate, honey, and roasted malts. Booze at the end, with a nice amount of bourbon.

MF: Lighter body overall than I expected, and lower than average carbonation. Big booziness on all of them, with a warming alcohol feeling to finish. The dryness on the palate varies with the different bourbons. This one was a bit thinner than some of the others.

O: Definitely in the upper group of this tasting, but it was voted as #2. The body was just too thin. Still a solid beer overall.

russwbeck, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of Travisnin
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Travisnin, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of Swervine44
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Swervine44, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of crbooher
4/5  rDev -6.5%

crbooher, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of Jeffo
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
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!

Jeffo, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of jonvan04
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pull up just about any thread on here and read people's most wanted and top beers, and you're bound to find tons of barrel aged stouts. It seems like just about everyone makes them and just about all of them are very good.

So I was skeptical when I first saw this beer in my local bottle shop. I had never even heard of this brewery. The $30 price tag per bottle didn't help either, but I decided to take a risk and pick one up anyway.

This beer was well worth the risk and the hefty pricetag.

It poured black with a thin tan head. The aroma was mix of vanilla, whiskey, and sweet malt flavors.

From the first taste you can definitely pick up the barrel's influence on the beer as the vanilla, wood, and whiskey flavors are noticeable right up front. The roasty and chocolate flavors are blended in as well. The Rye contributes more of a sweetness than most barrel aged stouts. The alcohol burn was minimal and the mouthfeel was very creamy with not that much carbonation.

Overall, this beer was a just about perfect example of everything that a barrel aged stout should be. The Rye and Oak flavors were very much in the forefront without totally overpowering the flavors that make it taste like beer. This is definitely worth seeking out.

jonvan04, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -6.5%

imperialking, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Gonzoillini, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of Khazadum
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Khazadum, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of InebriatedJoker
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

InebriatedJoker, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of jethrodium
3.85/5  rDev -10%
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.

jethrodium, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of ehammond1
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.


ehammond1, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of Durb777
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Durb777, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of FalconA
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

FalconA, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of StoutFest
4/5  rDev -6.5%

StoutFest, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of Kaydogg
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Kaydogg, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer served in a snifter from the 2011 release. Fun. Beer is black but clear at the corner, thin tan head small bubbles, some lacing but low retention and low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, malty with a nice oaky / liquor almost bitter aroma. Smells nice.

Beer is medium in body, strong, a little boozy but great throughout. The finish is a little dry and oaky, overall not my favorite out of these but very solid, the unique character of the liquor comes through in the palate. I'd have it again.

drabmuh, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of enelson
4/5  rDev -6.5%

enelson, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of DavoleBomb
2.88/5  rDev -32.7%
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.

DavoleBomb, Jan 25, 2012
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 419 ratings.