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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.

429 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 429
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 257
Gots: 206 | FT: 14
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:
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: 429 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gumushie
2.35/5  rDev -45.1%
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.

Photo of GregSVT
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

200th review! 22oz waxed bomber into a snifter. Bottle #2069...2009 Vintage.

A: Pours a dark black with ruby highlights and a very small head barely made it's way out of the beer. What showed up left some lacing on the glass but quickly faded to a ring. This was pretty disappointing but seems to be about par compared to the Elijah Craig bottle I had earlier this year.

S: The nose is incredibly decadent with huge aromas of chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and roasty coconut.

T: The taste follows the nose along with a slighty bitter charred element from the barrel and then some vanilla and a spicey rye flavor on the finish. A bit more barrel flavor than the EC...wonderful stuff.

M: The feel is thin like the EC version yet a bit creamy.

D: Another incredible Eclipse beer from FiftyFifty. I would drink these all the time if I had access to them.

Photo of Arbitrator
2.9/5  rDev -32.2%
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.

Photo of jrallen34
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A black pour with a nice full head, some decent lacing...The aroma is strong, lots of bourbon, vanilla, roasty...The taste is good, bourbon and chocolate, very creamy. Roasty again, not bitter but a touch of alcohol...I had this side by side with the Elijah Craig at a recent tasting and I actually liked this better, the EC was really burnt.

Photo of nataku00
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at the Bistro for west coast barrel aged beerfest. Poured a dark opaque brown with minimal head. Some light lacing when swirling the beer and forcing the formation of some small foamy head, but it dissipates quickly.

Nose is oak, vanilla, dark malt sweetness and roasted coffee. A bit of cinnamon like spice and caraml.

Taste follows the nose, very smooth roasted malt, semisweet chocolate, medium roasted coffee upfront. As it warms in your mouth, more bourbon characteristics, vanilla, charred oak, burnt caramel, and the spiciness that I can only assume comes from a rye based bourbon.

Smooth medium bodied beer that was nicely drinkable. However, the low carbonation took away from the beer.

Photo of maximum12
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Well, looking at these bottles since spring, I've been constantly reminded of the generosity of cloudskipper for sending me two bottles of the first generation Eclipse stouts. Thank you, again, my California beer dealer. Bottle #1587 split with my wife.

The green wax is actively hostile, & I have to risk physical injury slashing it off. Once I wrestle the cap off, the beautiful smell hits me like a teen-movie bitch slap. This is a beer that I could snuggle on my upper lip for an hour. The bourbony vanilla comes out strong - not Ahnold strong, but farm-boy, natural biceps strong. Roast malts & distant tropics underlay the rye whiskey, but it doesn't really matter.

Eclipse Heaven Hill Rye is downright freakin' fantastic. It's one of those beers that my first sip turns into a long sip, then a pull, & I have to pry my lips off of the glass. Fuck! I love my wife dearly, but I should have opened this while she was in Siberia or someplace.

The rye whiskey is dominant but doesn't squash the base into beer jelly. Love the rye, it adds a bit of spiciness to the deep malts & hard whiskey. Falling bits of vanilla, nice trace of peat moss, roast. Then the rye whiskey comes back in & obliterates everything & makes me happy. And this is smoooth. My ass wasn't this smooth at four weeks of age.

Bloody excellent beer, one of the best I've had in a long time. Perfectly balanced, easy to drink, delicious, with a smell that flares into happiness every time I put the glass near my face. So glad I ordered the current batch. Absolutely beautiful. Can't wait to try more.

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

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

Photo of JAXSON
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, pours black with quite a sparse head. Large, woody nose, nice round malt, seems quite sweet, bourbon perhaps a little less integrated than with the Elijah Craig. Some tobacco and old, wet leather in there. Flavor is sweet, dark, and malty. Bourbon comes at you at the onset, more so than in the Elijah. Some tobacco leaf and maybe a bit of tar on the back palate. Very good, more of a tobacco thing going on here which I love, that is expressed through the bourbon I believe, but the bourbon in itself is a bit dominant here. Not as great as the Elijah but a worthy beer nonetheless.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep back with a nice tan head into a Bruery tulip. A bit of lacing as it goes down.

S: The bourbon is definitely present. Nice and creamy, although not quite as heavy as the Elijah Craig, which we had this side-by-side with. Along with the alcohol is a bit of roasted malt and vanilla. Some hints of chocolate.

T: Similar to the nose, although the bourbon comes out more, playing with the malt and creating a nice creaminess, which really drives the mouthfeel.

M: Fairly full bodied and nice and creamy. No much alcohol; quite smooth.

D: Heavily drinkable. So glad they're releasing this again and that I have my futures certificates in hand.

Photo of Wisconsinality
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The hits just keep coming from alcstradamus.

Bomber poured into Chimay chalice.

A- Pours a very deep brown with a small amount of light shining around the edges. Very minimal head and no real lacing left behind.

S- Big roasted malts and black licorice. Lots of brown sugar and caramel. Large amounts of whiskey linger in the background and aren't overpowering.

T- Big amounts of whiskey, more so than in the nose. Caramel and brown sugar are pretty pronounced as well. The rye is pretty noticeable but adds a great dimension to it. Black licorice ties it all together.

M- Medium to full bodied with not much for carbonation. Feels really smooth on the tongue and no alcohol burn which is impressive.

D- Pretty easy drinking all considering. I was really surprised by the lack of heat from the alcohol. I liked the combination of the whiskey and the rye. Great balance for a barrel aged stout.

Photo of glid02
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - much obliged!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of gford217
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to James for getting this one to me. Dark green wax bottle shared with the Brick Store crew.

The pour is dark, dark brown, not quite completely black, with a small mocha head that recedes quickly to a thin collar.

The aroma is excellent - rye whiskey makes its presence felt but don't overwhelm the underlying beer. Those aromas are dark chocolate, roasted malts and hints of dark fruit. Throw in some vanilla, coconut and tobacco.

The taste is just sublime, with all kinds of flavors coming together perfectly. There's chocolate, coffee and dark malts with the rye whiskey complementing. The interesting characteristics in the taste are the tobacco and leather that come through a bit in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with soft carbonation and not nearly as charred or super-sweet as some other impy stouts.

The drinkability is off-the-charts for an impy stout. The barrel character is completely integrated into the well-balanced underlying beer. This is right up there with the Pappy from last year as one of the best BA beers I've ever tasted. Gorgeous.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 9.5% ABV, Bottle No. 1891/2009 written on the bottle.

Once again, alcstradamus is to thank for this. It broke up the sour/funk going on during the tasting nicely!

A - Totally black but clear around the edges. A low tan head with low retention and almost no lace at all.

S - Dry rye and roasted malts with a big whiskey aroma that's not super boozy at all. Not hot but more whiskey in the aroma than Russian imperial stout. It definitely gets hot on the swirl though. Coffee and dark chocolate come out as well.

T - Sharp rye whiskey flavor with no real hot booze. Notes of coffee and bittersweet chocolate poke through the back with a little bit of roasted malts. Decent balance of barrel-aging on this one.

M - Actually a bit thin for an RIS, it lands around medium-bodied. Not that it needs to be like engine oil, but it's a little thin. Smooth but also a little under-carbonated it seems.

D - Not incredibly hot thankfully, but it's got a balance between the RIS and barrel-aged flavor. Nothing to get excited about in the world of barrel-aged RIS beers, but it's good nonetheless.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hate to sound like a broken record but huge thanks to Adam for yet antoher beer.

A: Pitch black minimal head tiny soapy lace ring, lots of legs with swirling

S: bourbon, chocolate, coffee, root beer, hint of rye bread, very sweet and rich

T: roast coffee, bourbon, chocolate, sharp bitter finish

M: Thick full body low carboantion

D: Another Bal aged RIS. same thing day in day out drinkable if not memorable

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

Reviewed from notes

Pours a dark brown with very little head. Aroma has lots of toffee, pine bitterness, oak, and some unfortunate but minimal acetone.

The flavor has lots of bready notes. A ton of chocolate and peat/smokiness as well. Notes of toffee and bitter hops.

The body is medium yet heavy feeling due to the carbonation levels. Pleasant on the tongue.

Nice beer overall, the one noticeable flaw being the acetone. Still...complex, flavorful, and worthy of seeking out.

Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Dave for sharing this one at Sour Fest.

A: The pour is like all of the Imperial Eclipse iterations: thick and black as night with a finger's worth of tan head.

S: The whiskey notes are noticeable right away. Good kick of barrel, vanilla, rye, coconut?, chocolate, and a bit of sugar. Not quite as smooth as the PVW or the EC, but still very nice.

T: The few missteps of the nose are atoned for in the flavor. Great chocolate, roast, and slight dark fruit and coffee flavors from the beer itself. The barrel really lends quite a bit of complexity, including vanilla, some oak, and whiskey flavor.

M: The body is velvety and smooth on the tongue, and the carbonation is quite restrained.

D: These beers are all fantastic, and the fact that I'm giving such a high score to my "least favorite" of the bunch is telling. I wish I had more than one of each.

Photo of JWD
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a bottle purchased locally.

A- I had just had another version of the beer that day before and this was quite a bit thicker with an oil slick pour.

S & T - This was the most balanced of all versions and to me it took away a little from the individual flavors that you can normally taste thought the glass. I can understand why this is the favored version though, just not my favorite.

M & D - The mouthfeel here was exceptional i'm talking up there with DL type coating, very viscous, chewy, coating, and thick. I think the drinkability suffer a little on this one due to the sweetness and huge flavors. This was the only one i wish i had shared!!

Photo of femALEist
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the City Beer store FiftyFifty brewing event.
9.5%, $4 for 4oz taster. It smelled like: light roast, malty and a light bourbon. It tasted not too bitter, smokey, a hint of caramel, and toffee. It is very smooth and light at first, then with a big oomph of a flavor punch left in your mouth.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

For someone burnt out on imperial stouts, I've been drinking an awful lot this weekend. This came with very high recommendations from largadeer, thanks a ton, Chris! This is the 2009 release, bottle # 1573.

Definitely not the blackest imperial stout out there, this actually looks brown as I pour it but in my Duvel tulip, it's black with reddish brown highlights. A dense brown head is present, with some iridescent bubbles. Retention is excellent.

The nose is a heady mix of spicy rye whiskey, a mellow boozy heat, dark chocolate and dark fruit. I'm getting more dark fruit from this version than the Elijah Craig that I drank last night. The caramel from the base beer is apparent, working well with the booze. Vanilla is present, but quite a bit less than I got from the EC. A faint bit of coconut is present as well.

The palate opens moderately boozy with a blend of chocolate, caramel and some roasted malt coupled with a boozy whiskey heat. The rye spiciness works well with the alcoholic bite, this really tastes like a tootsie roll. A touch of dark fruit is also present. Drying on the finish with the perfect level of roasted malt bitterness, there's lingering flavors of vanilla, booze and dark chocolate bitterness. A little licorice is apparent, especially towards the finish, and the interplay between that aspect and the booze makes for an interesting beer. Medium-full in body, carbonation is low and perfect. Absolutely enjoyable, I'm probably in the minority that prefers the EC version to this, and that's mainly because this tastes a little sweeter and a little boozier than the EC.

**Edit 09 July 2011**

Bottle #310 from the 2010 release. The nose has a nice blend of toasted oak, booze, some vanilla, an underlying fruitiness that I don't recall finding in some of the other variants, some chocolate (more along the lines of an unsweetened cocoa, moderately dusty, especially in conjunction with the oak). Vanilla and caramel round out the nose. This is nicer than I remember the 09 version being. The palate opens rich, lush and moderately oaky, this beer has flavors of cocoa, charred oak and booze. The rye whiskey character is most noticeable on the finish, where it's present. The mid-palate has the caramel and more barrel with some coconut-like flavors. Moderately drying on the finish, what this beer lacks in roast, it makes up with oak. Solid stuff, I have a feeling my original scores are a little high, but I'll let it slide this time around S/T/M = 4.5/4/4.5

**Edit 22 Nov 2012**

Bottle #164 from the 2011 release. A pleasant blend of caramel, oak and spicy rye whiskey, this has creamy milk chocolate and vanilla. Boozy, spicy, moderately sweet and caramel-like, there's cocoa, oak and booze. A little sweeter than I remember. 4/4/4.5

Photo of waltonc
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Joey Schlitz for picking up my Eclipse bottles from CBS and shipping them out to me. Cracked open my first tonight and it does not disappoint. Pours nearly black with light tan head. Smell is dominated by whiskey, followed by vanilla and some chocolate. Taste is...more whiskey, along with bitter chocolate and vanilla. Slightly sweet, but overall very restrained. Finishes with an interesting bitterness, perhaps from the chocolate notes. A little raisin in there too. Overall, very well rounded and well balanced. Not over the top with the barrel aging. A barrel aged beverage with class and distinction - appropriate for the parlor.

Body is medium to thick with medium carbonation. Overall, an amazing product.

Photo of cptierney
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

How can I properly thank my beer providers EliottJW and juhl31 for providing me with this incredible opportunity to share a world class brew? These guys are tremendous and this generous offer really threw me for a loop.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Russian River Tulip. The beer poured a deep brown with just enough of a swirled head to make me confident that it was carbonated. The bubbles quickly dissipated leaving the caramel colored top, reminiscent of a pour of abyss. Maybe a bit light for my tastes the stick-to-it lacing meant that this brew had some kick, lovely stuff!

The nose on this beer boggles the mind. After some considerable warming, which I highly recommend, the bouquet this guy took on was spectacular. The whiskey was immediately apparent followed by those delicious sweet notes of caramel and brown sugar. There is also an almost indescribable scent that can best be characterized as "barrel guts," meaning that wooden yummy barrel scent.

Solid mouthfeel. There is little carb bite to this beer, which should be the case considering its barrel aged nature. Easily gulpable, this one is an easy drinking companion.

Dear God this beer is boozy. I am immediately basted by the whisky flavor. Though as the brew warms some more toffee, vanilla and caramel come to the fore. The bottle says the beer is brewed with honey, which could account for the sweetness. The rye almost becomes an essential balance for such a sweet impy. Complex and interesting!

Good drinkability for a barrel aged brew. One certainly wouldn't want to session this beast but the balance of boozyness and sweet makes for a surprisingly quaffable imperial stout.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle number 1467.

Deep dark black head. Half a finger head. Resides to a ring of foam around the edge of the glass. A nice bit of lacing. Looks great, especially for a whiskey barrel aged beer.

Smells of chocolate, vanilla, toffee, rye, whiskey, alcohol.

Tastes very sweet, chocolate, toffee, caramel, vanilla extract coconut, rye. Some oak and whiskey from the barrels come through.

Extremely heavy beer. Viscous and chewy. Well carbonated.

Probably couldn't have more than a bottle at a time. Still, good drinkability.

Photo of HopHead84
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle 1576. Thanks to Barry and Arbitrator for helping me acquire this. Consumed in a snifter. The beer is extremely dark brown, near black, with a small light brown head.

The nose is of round and sometimes square milk chocolate cookies with caramel, oak, and vanilla. The Heaven Hill lends a light rye spiciness that's neither too strong nor too weak. There's a pleasurable upper moderate level of booze heat that provides a faint nostril sting. On the whole, this is an outstanding aroma. I rated this a 4.5 in aroma and then left my snifter to revisit at a later time during the tasting. 30 minutes passed before I touched this again, and the nose had been transformed from great to exceptional. I have a few words for you: amazing barrel aged American Double/Imperial Stout aroma.

The flavor continues the trend of excellence, though it couldn't possibly live up to the aroma. Notes of milk chocolate and caramel meld with Rye whisky, a dash of smoke, and a subtle spiciness. A lower moderate level of roast is perceivable, and the heat in the finish is at a perfect upper moderate level. The mouthfeel is full, silky, creamy, and square. Unlike a few other stouts I can think of, this beer is devoid of harsh solvents, extreme astringency, and torched acrid malt roast. Outstanding.

Photo of Chambic
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

01.23.10 at City Beer Store

A: so pretty, nice and dark in the baby snifter

S: couldn't stop smelling it. Why does it smell a bit peaty, like it was locked up in a scotch barrel? It's almost smoky, but that doesn't quite describe it. Maybe it smells just a bit like a candle going out. Not really sure. But, it also smells like cocoa, but not in a sweet way

T: ooh, like rich cocoa

M: really nice and smooth, very rich

D: highly quaffable, I could get into a whole lotta trouble with this stuff

Photo of nickd717
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 429 ratings.