Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 412 | Reviews: 152 | Display Reviews Only:
4.4/5 rDev +2.8%
2010, bottle #953. Part of my stout tasting on October 22nd, 2011. 2-3 oz. into snifter. Been wanting to crack open an Eclipse variant for a long time, so this one was quite a joy.
A – Thin, semi-dark brown coloring. Lacking any sort of considerable head but showing a decent amount of alcohol on the sides of my glass. Doesn’t swirl with any real apparent legs.
S – Heaven’s Hill barrel upfront, complemented by vanilla and robust leather. Like the bourbon, the oak element is subtle. Very little chocolate and coffee. Alcohol presence is about as minimal as I’ve found in a stout while actually still being able to detect it. It’s not overtly complex but it is more balanced than I hoped for.
T – Roasted almonds and rye whiskey couple together for the primary flavor. Stronger espresso and cacao bitterness than what was revealed in the nose. Slight caramel and honeycomb sweetness linger into the finish.
M – Medium body. Carbonation is expected, decent medium-length finish.
D – Very decent, glad I started with this one as opposed to Evan Williams. This was legitimately the strongest of the three versions we opened.
10-27-2011 03:36:54 | More by Auracom
District of Columbia
3.68/5 rDev -14%
From 22oz bottle to tasting glass at my 30th Beerthday Bash on 9/23/11
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.
10-13-2011 23:03:53 | More by Rhettroactive
4.3/5 rDev +0.5%
2009 Vintage, green wax...thanks, Alex! Poured into Bell's tulip.
A - Pours black, light tan-colored head that quickly vanishes, thin ring, some bubbles.
S - Chocolate, oak, ultra-smooth booze, burnt cigars, light roast. Very dessert-esque, no alcohol burn at all, no char. Simply rich and elegant.
T - Similar to the nose. Rich, smooth booze, chocolate, light roast, oak. Very enjoyable, little to no alcohol, dessert in a glass.
M - Medium to full, light carbonation, silky smooth, creamy oak finish.
O - Another smooth, excellent, delicious offering from Todd at FiftyFifty. The 9.5% is non-existant for the most part and the chocolate and oak notes are right-on. Another winner, IMO.
10-10-2011 18:48:40 | More by Sean9689
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Shared at the UFC tasting. 2009 vintage. Served in a Deschutes snifter. Big thanks to whoever brought this.
A: Pours a straight jet black with little head. Dissolves to thin ring around the edges.
S: Some charred wood, a mild sweetness, little chocolate and some whiskey are all present.
T: The whiskey is present once again and integrated nicely into a charred chocolate and roasted malt. There is a faint sweetness and a touch of dark fruits as well.
M: Just a touch over medium bodied. About the same in carbonation levels as well. Goes down easy though with well hidden alcohol.
O: This was my first Eclipse and it was definitely an enjoyable experience. I actually enjoyed the characteristics imparted by the Heaven Hills barrels and would like to try more like this.
10-10-2011 13:50:11 | More by Treebs
4.18/5 rDev -2.3%
2009 vintage - thanks to Adam & Anna (Nanoslug(s)). Served in a Bell's tulip.
A - Quick-dissolving off-white foam settles to a thin ring, leaving no lace. Dark brown body that is a touch lighter at the fringes.
S - This expression of Eclipse is very sweet, with loads of cocoa powder, oaky vanilla, hint of maple, and only a modest amount of earthy rye whiskey. There's also an aged quality, with perhaps a touch of port-like oxidation present. No obvious alcohol present, but I've never found these beers very boozy.
T - Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, whiskey, and a modest amount of oak. Less sweet than the nose implies, with more espresso bitterness and char present.
M - Medium-bodied, with medium-low carbonation, a lightly tannic and gritty texture, and a modest amount of warming alcohol. On the lighter side of Imperial Stouts, but plenty hefty for the listed 9.5% ABV.
D - The flavor is a bit too charry for this rank among my favorite Eclipses, but it's still quite enjoyable and something I'd gladly have again. Goes down quite easily, and packs a lot of flavor into a 9.5% beer. I'm curious how the 2010 version compares, but Elijah Craig is my clear-cut favorite from the 2009 variants.
10-10-2011 03:15:30 | More by MasterSki
4.38/5 rDev +2.3%
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.
10-03-2011 19:16:37 | More by DJButters
4.1/5 rDev -4.2%
Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a tulip.
Appearance: The pour is mahogany, nearly black with a tint of maroon at the edge of the liquid. A tiny coffee colored head forms and fades right away without any lace.
Smell: The aroma is strangely light in this bottle. Some rye whiskey, dark chocolate, and roasted malt are most noticeable. Some espresso and dark fruit aromas hide far in the background.
Taste: The flavor is much better than the aroma. Smooth Heaven Hill goes along with a full chocolate sweetness. Molasses, dark chocolate, roasted malt, all contribute to a full flavor that intertwines nicely with the Heaven Hill. Some oak flavors come in at the end.
Mouthfeel: For an imperial stout, this has a medium, maybe fuller than medium body. The carbonation is creamy and smooth, with a whisky stickiness. The oak and rye seem to dry this out just a bit, which is nice.
Overall: So far I have found each of the different treatments for Eclipse to be interesting and a bit different.
09-26-2011 16:45:29 | More by KickInTheChalice
4.4/5 rDev +2.8%
I’ve had these brews sitting down in the cellar patiently waiting until football season. Preseason is up, good enough. Drank from my Darkness snifter while watching the Saints vs. Texans.
2010 version bottle 697
Appearance- Pours a pitch ass black with a small headish thing even after an aggressive pour. A small collar with NO head and NO lacing remains.
Smell- Super rich smelling beer. It has that really sweet smelling Dark Lord like thing going on. Tons of rich milk chocolate that is literally brownie batter. I swear you could add an egg and bake this beer. The barrel is fairly noticeable as is the spirit. Touches of vanilla and wood mix in well with the fairly potent caramel. A teeny tiny touch of coconut is present along with a raw sort of nuttiness.
Taste- Starts with a kick of booze that is warming but not overwhelming. It literally tastes like this beer has toasted coconut in it. The chocolate aspect is dark and intense with tons of fudgy goodness. Tons of caramel and brown sugar really sort of lead into the light barrel aspect of the beer. The alcohol really sort of caught me off guard at first but as I drink more of the beer I realize it’s all well integrated. I don’t get anything particularly rye but the barrel aging is very evident. Gets a bit cloying towards the bottom of the glass but I should have shared this bottle anyways.
Mouthfeel- Maybe a touch thin for the style but overall everything is hunky dory. The beer is fairly sweet (as expected) but still oddly thin.
Drinkability- The beer is terrific. It’s SO flavorful and very unique but it’s definitely a bottle splitter. Bring a friend for this one. I don’t get much of a difference from bottle to bottle on the barrel but I do get a sense of what a little time does. Everything is more well rounded (that make sense?) and integrated. Great beer.
09-21-2011 18:18:23 | More by younger35
4.55/5 rDev +6.3%
Generously shared at Dyan's place the other evening.
Eclipsse pours a fairly dark brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The beer looks thick and viscuous... The nose is just stunning, showcasing considerable bourbon, coupled with brown sugar, chocolate and even light chalk. There is considerable honey in the nose as well, and in combination, it gives one the impression this beer will be fairly sweet. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but on the palate, the honey flavor really asserts itself. This beer is pretty sweet and rich, and the mouthfeel if full, long, creamy and altogether decadent. There is some light booze as well on the finish, but otherwise the alcohol is really quite well integrated into the flavort profile (the beer is not at all hot or tiring on the palate).
Quite an impressive beer. Just delicious.
09-16-2011 15:41:17 | More by John_M
4.3/5 rDev +0.5%
A: Pours a dark roast coffee black with a very thin head and a slight lacing.
S: It has a deep rich aroma of dark chocolate, espresso, Oak, and dark chocolate raisinettes.
T: It has a rich taste of espresso, spicy rye, oak, dark chocolate, and sweet rye whiskey. Everything blends very well together and is quite amazing.
M: It has a light carbonation with a rich, thick, and creamy mouthfeel.
O: This beer is quite amazing how you still can get a multitude of nuance from the base beer, and yet how beautifully with the barrel it becomes blended. The rye whiskey from the barrel comes through with an intense, rich, sweetness that blends with the dark chocolate and espresso. This variation is amazing, and doing quite well.
09-08-2011 05:27:53 | More by PaulStoneAnchor
3.88/5 rDev -9.3%
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.
09-04-2011 03:47:06 | More by SpeedwayJim
4/5 rDev -6.5%
Thanks to colonelforbin for opening up this one. 2009 vintage served in a snifter.
A: Pours black with a bubbly dark brown collar that left tons of spotty lacing down the glass.
S: Rich notes of chocolate, vanilla, roasted coconut and a hint of dark fruits.
T: I get dominating flavors of rich chocolate, warming bourbon, and sweet toffee in the finish along with spicy barrel flavors. I also get flavors of vanilla, prunes, raisins and leather. The aftertaste is nutty and lingers with spicy bourbon.
M: Thick bodied, lowish carbonation, medium dryness and a lingering bourbon warmth. For being a couple years old this beer still has a fairly big alcohol presence.
O: Not as good as some of the other Eclipses, but I loved the spicy (not hot) bourbon flavors in this one. Thanks again for sharing, Mike.
08-29-2011 20:18:29 | More by scottfrie
4.05/5 rDev -5.4%
On Tap at FoBAB. I had both the 2009 and 2010 versions there. Reviewing 2009, as I liked it better.
A - Black beer with a nice tan head that had some okay lacing on it for a stout.
S - Nicely roasted malts and fat rye whiskey. It's rich, but smells as if it's mellowed out and brings a little less alcohol heat than it might have once upon a time. Some dark chocolate and coffee.
T - Nice rye whiskey taste mixes balances out the chocolate and caramel malts. Roasted malts give it some nice body, as well as some bitter coffee to help mellow the sweetness. There isn't a ton of alcohol heat on this one, tastes pretty good.
M - Slightly thinned out, although I've always felt that the Eclipse series stouts were thinner than a lot of RIS. Lower carbonation.
O - Good beer that went down pretty easily. Good for rye whiskey lovers, and the best thing this beer has going for it is exceptional balance. Would gladly drink again.
07-26-2011 19:52:44 | More by AgentZero
4.25/5 rDev -0.7%
Black as night it sludged into the glass and popped up a sticky brown head of nearly two inches before settling down but retaining a wonderful balance of about a half an inch. Lacing coats the whole glass wonderfully. Lots of bourbon in the aroma, hot with vanilla and wood streaming through the air and dominating an otherwise chocolate and roasted masterpiece. Each sip tastes like you are coming straight off the barrel. Wonderful notes of vanilla and butterscotch, warm chocolate and light smoke all come together. Lots of heat, this definitely will benefit from a year or two but such a smooth, creamy finish it was literally as smooth as one could imagine given the strength.
07-04-2011 04:27:50 | More by mikesgroove
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Received this bottle from KevSal for winning his BA Haiku LIF, thanks Kevin! 2010 vintage, bottle #462. Shared with a few BAs yesterday after some awesome mountain biking in La Crosse.
A - Really thick, black body with a light mocha foam head. Lacing is splotchy. Bit of a dark amber hue around the edges, mixed with a caramel brown and light purple.
S - Light whiskey, rye, vanilla, cocoa roast, and damp oak. Little sweetness from the honey but not too much. The booze is really restrained on this one, which is pretty nice.
T - Roasted malts, a bit of bakers fudge and chocolate cake. Oak and light whiskey round out the finish, which is not too heavy. Bits of caramel and brown sugar, but I'm not getting a lot of honey. Maybe it is what represents the sweetness but I'm not sure.
M - Good carbonation with the roast leaving a slightly drying effect on the mouth. Pretty smooth and creamy, however.
O - Not too bad, not too bad at all. This is the second 50/50 Stout I've had (Had the Four Roses a few weeks ago) and I can say that I like the Heaven Hill version a little better. A really nice treat to have and something that is even more awesome to win. Thanks again Kevin for the opportunity!
06-27-2011 14:49:28 | More by joshuaseresse
4.3/5 rDev +0.5%
09 bomber sampled at the Batch 3 Rosso release as part of an Eclipse tasting; huge thanks to Thorpe429, ChrisPro, callmemickey, rlmartin, corey70, and starrdogg for making this possible!
A: Black with bright brown highlights; just a thin ring of tan bubbles. Ok.
S: Whiskey, booze, lots of vanilla, some coffee and dark chocolate. Great.
T: Oak, whiskey, and vanilla dominate, with some dark fruit, citrus, and spicy chocolate leading to a boozy, licorice-heavy finish. A little rough around the edges, but really exciting.
M: Soft, lively medium body; surprisingly well-carbonated for such a flat-looking beer.
O: This was the first one we had after the Pappy, and boy was it a change of pace. The rye barrels really imbued the base stout with huge amounts of spirits, oak, spice, and booze, and all that barrel presence just brought out the underlying complexities of the malts. The '10 Heaven Hill followed, and its youth delivered even more dramatic (one could well say harsh) elements of whiskey, spice, and booze. Compared to the impeccably smooth Pappy variant, this seemed terribly unrefined. Compared to most other BA stouts, it's pretty darn great.
05-15-2011 00:39:01 | More by woosterbill
4.65/5 rDev +8.6%
Pours out pretty pitch black with only a slight ring of brown at the edge. Tan half inch of head with little rings of lace.
The smell is subdued from age I assume. Chocolate, smooth, melted, bittersweet chocolate is the main component of the nose. Small but rich. Cherry comes next with some oak and earth, finishes with a rye whiskey spice (only slight). I've been adding notes as this warms (same with taste). The smell is much more prevalent as it warms.
The taste starts with heavy chocolate and I mean HEAVY! Rye whiskey is also pretty noticeable up front, spicy and delicious, reminds me of chocolate with chili peppers. Huge oak note followed by some earthy hops that are surprisingly still there. The oak dries it out a little which complements the sweetness well. HOT DAMN!
The mouth is thick and smooth.
I like this one quite a bit more than the other two I got (Four Roses & Evan Williams,) which I liked quite a bit. Maybe it was the Rye Whiskey barrels used that gave it that spice I like, maybe it was the age. Great beer though, very glad I dropped the extra dough.
04-26-2011 00:28:40 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
3.25/5 rDev -24.1%
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.
04-15-2011 18:34:28 | More by BearsOnAcid
4.15/5 rDev -3%
2010 bottle poured into a tulip glass
A - deep espresso with a 1/2 inch head that dissipates leaving lacing
S - rye, dark chocolate, oak, roasted coffee, and more rye
T - huge hit of rye upfront th you get hit with coffee and chocolate notes. Back end in the throat is all rye. You can feel the heat in the stomach. It's boozy
M - nice complexity with velvety mouthfeel. Kind of surprising because I tend to think of non-bourbon spirit aged beers to be thinner because of the lack of vanilla notes. Really liked the smoothness on this one
D - it's a sipper, not too hot, but you know it's been sitting in a rye barrel.
04-15-2011 03:21:18 | More by teamizm
3.68/5 rDev -14%
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.
04-03-2011 23:45:33 | More by muttyd
4.47/5 rDev +4.4%
2010 Bottle courtesy of westcoastbeerlvr (thanks Craig!). Split with my wife, although she thinks it tastes too sweet. More for me.
Removing the green wax, uncapping, and pouring, this is a translucent dark brown color, finishing with a thin tan cap of dense foam. The liquor aroma is strong, but so is the sweet malty character of the base beer. Having tried several in the series, some a few times, I'm gonna go ahead and say that the base beer is like a refined Dark Lord, keeping the best parts of the flavor with less of the syrupy sweetness. It's still pretty sweet though.
The barrel treatment is perfect for this sweet stout. The 2010 Heaven Hill bottle is fairly hot, with a big blast of rye whiskey in every sip, and a faint hint of belly burn along with a lasting aftertaste of alcohol. Still, it's the sweetness my wife objects to, and I see where she's coming from. It's just that I think it works.
Not as thick as Dark Lord (thank God), still substantial enough to match the flavors. Excellent as are all the other barrel treatments!
03-27-2011 01:46:19 | More by TurdFurgison
4.25/5 rDev -0.7%
Bottle 224 of the 2010 vintage, courtesy of a great west coast trader, poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.
Appearance: Pours a fudgy sienna, dark but not obsidian, with a robustness to its hue that's refreshing, about as bright and vivid as you can expect from something refracting as little light as this body does. What started as a gentle pour became more vigorous as the 22 oz., green wax-topped bottle became approximately half empty, coaxing a good finger of solid, creamy, cocoa head out of the depths. The retention of this one leaves a little to be desired, however, and the light, wispy cap faded to a foamy, bubbly sheen and some nice streaks and fuzzy sheets of sandy French beige lacing fairly quickly. The lacing is actually quite nice, better than I would have expected from a 9.5% barrel aged stout, and salvages the score of this one from a 4.0.
Aroma: High and estery, without a lot of body until it nears room temperature, though not hot or too spicy. This one's really about the barrel notes and the spirit additions, showcasing a great vanilla/coconut one-two as well as a smooth but powerful whiskey note that manages to be intense without being abrasive. The cocoa, toast, and earthy astringencies of the base beer definitely take a backseat here, moreso than in many other beers I've shoved my schnoz in to, and though it's very graceful and elegant in its smoothness, it fails to be the most intense or aromatically inviting thing in the world. Mixed bag.
Taste: Very much like a rye whiskey chocolate milkshake, and that's a good thing. I normally start these sorts of reviews by talking about the malts, then on to the hops, then on to the spirit notes, and finally closing them out with all of the other little flourishes that popped up during the tasting experience. But I would almost be remiss if I didn't start this one by talking about the barrel components. This beer is a whiskey vanilla bomb, in every sense - vanilla is strong, almost out of balance with the rest of the notes, and is accompanied by a huge hit of spicy rye whiskey. Fortunately, the whiskey isn't hot or chemical-ly - it is, however, bracingly potent, but I suppose in the best way that it can be bracingly potent, for what that's worth. A few dashes of coconut and green oak round out this Martin and Lewis (for all you QT fans). The remainder of the body of this beer is dry, toasty, mildly brownie-like though bittersweet on the whole. A faint hop bitterness suggests no other hop characteristics, and that's fine.
Mouthfeel: Erratic at first, though it does even out eventually. The body is definitely thinned both by the relatively high attenuation of the malts here as well as the spirit thinning, though the end result is still fat enough that it leaves a bit of a stick in the mouth. It works fairly well with the flavor profile, though it doesn't necessarily blow me away or stand out above any other aspect of this beer.
Drinkability: Better, but not great. Fifty/Fifty continues to impress if not amaze, and I think this one was a little more refined and mature than the Evan Williams. That being said, it still wore its flaws on its sleeve, and I think these beers are still a few years away from being perfected. The 9.5% was hidden to everything but the sixth sense, which was nice, though I caution downing an entire one of these the morning before anything necessitating a clear mind.
03-16-2011 04:34:32 | More by CrellMoset
District of Columbia
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Amalgamated review of 2009 and 2010 bottles. Shared with Jeff and Adam.
Looks very similar to the other Eclipses, near black, chocolate brown with a minimal than head that quickly fades to nothing.
Aroma is distinct from other Eclipses as roast and burnt malt dominate over the HH bourbon, vanilla and oak. Mildly spicy as well. The 10 however is much boozier than the 09 and was easily identified as the fresh bottle next to 09 EC and HH.
The 09 was remarkably smooth and balanced, with a mild rye spiciness perfectly melding with the malt and char of the base beer and the molasses, vanilla and bourbon of the barrel. The 10 however is bizarrely harsh and boozy for an Eclipse.
The body of the 09 is viscous and smooth, with light carbonation and a smooth, creamy finish. The 10 is overly carbonated and fizzy with a harsh boozy finish. I'm giving the 10 the benefit of the doubt that it will get better with age or that this was a bad bottle. The 09 was extremely drinkable, but a little bland next to the EC.
Resampling 2010 bottle 865 in Dec 2011. Much smoother and milky body; more enjoyable than it was fresh; developing into something nice. Bumping the mouthfeel .5 for being awesomer
03-03-2011 02:26:46 | More by yourefragile
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 412 ratings.