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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

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414 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 414
Reviews: 152
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 260
Gots: 199 | FT: 13
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: 414 | Reviews: 152 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

womencantsail, Jul 22, 2010
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!!

JWD, May 01, 2010
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.

femALEist, Mar 25, 2010
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

DefenCorps, Mar 22, 2010
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.

waltonc, Mar 07, 2010
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.

cptierney, Feb 17, 2010
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.

billshmeinke, Feb 10, 2010
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.

HopHead84, Jan 26, 2010
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

Chambic, Jan 25, 2010
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.

nickd717, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of jdklks
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Shared with Jmoore50.

The appearance of this one is sub-par for an imperial stout. Looks a lot like a porter with the exception of the milk-chocolate colored head. The edges are light brown and the middle is almost transparent. Much too light. The aroma is great, but could be stronger. Chocolate covered banana, coconut, whiskey and vanilla.

The flavor is chocolate up front, with a major burst of toffee and caramel that cancels out anything else bidding for recognition. There is some sweet honey in the finish and aftertaste, and only a hint of the barrel-aging that seemed so much more promising in the aroma. Again, I cannot stress enough the amount of toffee and caramel. Overall, not as complex as the truly great imperial stouts, but certainly a treat.

Mouthfeel, like the appearance, is super-light, almost watery. Judging by consistency alone I would identify this beer as a porter. However, this positively effects the drinkability, as the beer is very sessionable.

jdklks, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Bring for hooking me up with this one.

Pours a translucent dark brown, and in the glass it's an opaque dark chocolate color. A small leather-colored head rises to a finger's height and just as quickly settles to a ring.

The aroma is an intoxicating mix of chocolate caramel candy, boozy rye whiskey and vanilla. There's a subtle fruitiness in the background, honey and light roastiness. This smells outstanding.

The taste, surprisingly, is even better than the aroma. It opens with a medley of milk chocolate, honey, vanilla and caramel, which segues into a mid-palate of burnt toast, spicy rye whiskey and plenty of boozy heat. The body is medium-full, right about where I like it for the style; it's neither thin nor syrupy. A bittersweet dark chocolate finish beautifully contrasts the initial chocolate-caramel blast, leaving a hint of charred malt, licorice and alcohol on the palate. It's rare that I'm impressed with big stouts these days, but I have to admit that this is an exceptionally well made beer.

largadeer, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of Sandstone
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A nice birthday treat. Poured from the bottle into a tulip

A: An aggressive pour gives me a 1/2 inch creamy head that slowly dissipates, leaving just a thin light film above the deep, dark, opaque brown beneath.

S: This beer smells absolutely incredible. Dark chocolate, stone fruits, molasses, oak, and whiskey. It smells exactly like what you expect and hope a -bal aged stout to smell like, and cranks it up to 11.

T: Carmel, roasted malts, whiskey, with a light touch of oak. I had my first couple of ounces at this beer when it was still chilled and was slightly disappointed at the bitter finish. Rest assured, once you let this beer warm up, the flavors completely mellow and meld into each other. This beer isn't excessively boozy, but the rye whiskey influence is definitely there -- Dare I say it? The beer may still be just a TOUCH too hot. A little age is going to make this an easy perfect 5.

The bottle says 9.5% -- That may be true for the base beer, but I guarantee this picked up alcohol from the barrel. I would be surprised if this beer wasn't actually somewhere closer to 12%.

M: Carbonation is on the lower end, but absolutely perfect for the style. Beer just has this great velvety texture that coats the tongue without being excessively syrupy.

D: Three hours later, I've finished my 22oz bomber. Can't wait to try the Elijah Craig and Jack Daniel's version of this beer.

Final Verdict: Amazing -bal aged stout. Easily one of my top 5, and I think with a year on it, would be a close contender for the #1 or 2 spot.

Sandstone, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of Jmoore50
4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best Imperial Stout I have ever had. Served in a Bruery tulip glass with two fellow beer lovers. Everyone who had it said it was the best Imperial Stout they have had. This might be the second or third beer I have had that is actually worth the $20 price tag.

The appearance on this brew is dark. It has a dark black heart and lighter leather-brown edges. It pours with a half finger cocoa head that leaves a film over the brew. It has a liquor characteristic to it, meaning it looks pretty oily in the tulip. The alcoholic legs on this are beautiful.

The smell and taste are similar so I will combine. There are some pretty deep dark characters in this one. Chocolate truffles, tootsie rolls, toffee, roasted grains, wet sugared plumbs and assorted dark fruits, and an amazing Heaven Hill Rye flavor. This again is pushed by the Rye, the flavors I first described are just being pushed to the limits on flavor, amazing. The barrel on this does the brew wonders. The smell has a heavier Rye Whiskey aspect to it, but the taste is just perfect. I love Rye whiskeys so this one was like a wet dream. Everyone, including myself, was just blown away with the quality of the smells and tastes.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth. The grains of the beer take away the small bite that Rye whiskey sometimes has. This beer has the best aspects of an Imperial Stout and those flavors get pushed and paired perfectly.

Drinkability is stunning. This is one I could drink with special occasions and with every meal. I could easily take a bottle of this by myself, and maybe even two. The sweetness aren't overwhelming, neither are the grains or oak or whiskey flavors. Just perfect, really perfect. The only reason I did not give it fives all around is because there was no real lacing, little thin on the look and not dark as coal. I think in a year a perfect fives all around will come, but now I will enjoy what I got. Still cannot believe that this is the same base beer that the JD version is made of.


Jmoore50, Dec 29, 2009
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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 414 ratings.