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
95
world-class

469 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 469
Reviews: 161
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 269
Gots: 222 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 469 | Reviews: 161
Photo of warnerry
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011, bottle #1778

A - Pours near black with one and a half fingers of brown head. Head has decent retention, eventually fading to a thin cap. Spotty lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate, with some roasted malt, a sweet aroma that could be some residual honey or a bit of molasses, vanilla, a bit of wood and some faint alcohol.

T - Taste is a little sweeter than the aroma would suggest, but not overpowering sweetness. Again a big chocolate presence, combining bittersweet and milk chocolate. A bit of spicy spirit undercuts the chocolate. Some nice vanilla. Roasted malt comes in near the finish. Finishes with a bit of rye whiskey. Very tasty, but a touch too sweet.

M - Medium mouthfeel, a touch on the light side for an imperial stout, but I don't mind. Definitely not thin.

O - This is a very nice Eclipse variant, but the honey sweetness is a bit too apparent. Still very enjoyable. I like that these are relatively low on the abv scale for barrel-aged imperial stouts at "only" 9.5%, but the price tag will definitely keep me from revisiting, considering other options for the style.

Photo of mdfb79
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 11/24/12 notes. Shared this with my brother...2010 vintage, bottle #743. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of dark tan head and low to moderate carbonation evident. This one doesn't look as thick as the others, but still looks great.

s - Smells of whiskey, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, cream, dark fruits, and oak. Nice but the whiskey is still a bit hot, and dominates the nose. Still good, but not on the level of the other versions.

t - Tastes of whiskey, alcohol, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, vanilla, oak, dark fruits. Taste has much more bitter choolate than the nose, and a lot of hot whiskey again.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Body is not as thick as the other versions, and is a little hotter than most variations.

o - Overall this is certainly a good beer, but having had 8 other variations at our Eclipse tasting last week, this is towards the bottom of the pack. It is a little bit thinner than most of the others, and a bit hotter, though still quite nice. Would like to have it again but would buy or seek out other variations first.

Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle pour into a glass.

Very black in nature Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co. is a black stout with a semi tannish foam that graces the top before bouncing, no stick on the side.

Smell is very bold with roasted malt, bourbon, charred oak, some rye component. Not really picking up any of the honey used. Some tootsie roll comes through with warming while the rye comes out more, a nice sniffer.

Taste is pronounced with bourbon, oak, rye and malt. Not picking up any hop tastes at this point in the bottles stage. The honey is not picked up either, but I guess that has more to do with upping the body which is a tad thin, but remains above medium bodied. Not a incredibly thick stout by any means. Carbonation fades with some time leaving for a smooth ride. Just a hit of heat.

Photo of dirtylou
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, green wax, 2009 vintage, #1803

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, dark body with auburn highlights, minimal bubbly carbonation, lace is just a light swirl on the surface

smell: light, but nice - rich caramel, a bit of char, subtle rye whiskey notes, toasted hazelnut

taste: not an overly big stout, but the flavors are pretty solid - rich creamy caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, rye, nice barrel notes that really open up as this one warms up. The spice from the rye plays well - would love to try some other variations

mouthfeel: relatively light, velvety

overall: nice stuff, thanks lou91

Photo of Gosox8787
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Bomber bottle with dark green wax from 2011. Chilled slightly and poured into a Kate the Great tulip glass.

Appearance: Really dark brown to black in color like a typical barrel aged stout. Pours a nice one to two finger head that holds for a bit and imparts a nice lacing.

Aroma: The bourbon tones really stand out well. A lot of the barrel comes through. Rye whiskey, chocolate and coffee are all pretty noticable. Some vanilla and brown sugar shine through as well. Not overly boozy, but lots of barrel.

Taste: Big rye whiskey, chocolate and espresso upfront. Considering that this is a barrel aged stout, it is not too heavy handed on the sweetness at all. Actually a lot of bitterness rounds out the bourbon and barrel flavors pretty well. Some light touches of oak and vanilla. Not boozy at all. Drinks really easy considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel: Definitely on the lighter side for the style, but there is some creaminess. Very nice.

Overall, a really well done and tasty treatment of a barrel aged stout. I didn't like this as much as the Four Roses I had, but the strong barrel flavors, and really nice balance of sweet and bitter stand out. Maybe hard to buy often at $30, but certainly nice and easy to drink.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I shared a bottle of this with my wife at our campsite in Vermont. Lovely.

The beer is a deep, dark brown with a half inch of dark beige head that leaves a thick sheet of lacing on the walls of the glass. The aroma brings oak, booze, roast, malt. The flavor is perhaps a tad more bready than usual, with a hint of bitterness in the back. Must be the rye malt. Tasty. Additional notes of chocolate and vanilla. Really, quite a flavorful beer, and deceptively easy to drink. Fairly light in the mouthfeel for the style. Well balanced, with lingering notes of oak and bourbon. Well done.

Photo of beerhan
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kecarl7 for this one

A-split three ways into sniffers. Dark black with a faint cocoa head. Relatively thin body. I must admit i did not have high hopes for this one.

S-smells like chocolate and molasses with a bourbon aroma.

T-absolutely fantastic taste, lots of honey and rye up front giving it a slightly bitter bourbon taste. I can't stop thinking about how good this was.

M-thin but chewy, low carbonation but very impressive for the light body.

O-this is a delicious beer but a bit thin. Drinkability is odd just because I expected more resistance going down.

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

2011 Vintage. Bottle #1950. Poured in to Hill Farmstead stemmed tulip.

A - Poured dark brown, settled black. Half a finger of espresso coloured head formed and reduced to a thin layer. Spotty lacing.

S - Big roast up front that immediately gives way to the barrel characteristics - sweet bourbon (not rye), vanilla and oak. Some molasses and coffee are present in the background.

T - Big roast and rye whiskey flavours up front. Oak and vanilla are also present. Semi-sweet chocolate, molasses and a touch of bitter coffee round out the palate. Very smooth. The barrel characteristics and the base beer flavours are very well integrated.

M - Medium body. Smooth. Light carbonation.

Photo of Bung
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, 2011 bottle 348. Fairly black, some brown around the edges. Just a miniscule off white layer. It does retain fairly well though.

Aroma, big chocolate, toasted malt, caramel and vanilla, oak barrel. What you want.

Taste, Roast malt, cocoa, vanilla, slightly spicey oak. Faintest coffee in there, but the rye barrel outlasts it.
Barrel does not overpower the relatively small big stout.

Just a tad thinner than one would like, I still found it well coating though. Rye whisky barrel adds to the taste, not the body which I was kind of expecting. Alcohol properly hidden.
This is the most expensive beer I have ever purchased at $30, I'd nearly say it was worth it, but once is enough.

Photo of xnicknj
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap during the preview of the cambridge - 2011 batch

Pours a completely inky, viscous black color, topped by a thin layering of tanned brown head. Dissolves into a swirl of clouded film with little lacing.

Rich, full bourbon notes in the nose, although slightly raw feeling. Vanilla and oak with hints of syrup and dark chocolate. Boozy glow with sweetness.

Begins with an near-immediate kick of bourbon with some sweeter vanilla undertones. Caramel and chocolate with a brownie-like flavor. Thick malted backbone with bready tones and oats. Finishes boozy and warm with a soft sweetness.

Fuller body, nicely carbonated, silky and smooth on the tongue. A delicious barrel aged stout, although I don't think I'd pick up a $30 bottle if I had the chance to sample it on tap.

Photo of GabrielM
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle received as an extra from generous BA GrumpyOldTroll. Thanks again! Poured into a Darkness snifter.

A - pitch black with a nice brown head on top. Body seems thin with some stickiness on the glass after a swirl.

S - rye, vanilla, oak, some honey sweetness on the back. Smells very pleasing.

T - oak, vanilla and whiskey are the dominating flavors here, though none are overbearing. An oaky finish with some sweetness on the back and finished out with a bit of heat. Very nice.

M - as the appearance indicated, this one is a bit thin. I tend to like big stouts to be chewier, but the carbonation is right on and saves this one.

O - a damn good beer and ultra-generous bottle to be extra-ed. This was my first rye barrel brew and I'm very thankful to have tried it.

Photo of Dope
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 384 from the 2011 batch.

A: Pours black with big dense espresso colored head. Fades slowly, leaving nice lacework on the glass.

S: Rye whiskey and lots of it. Strong alcohol bite from it. Spicy rye, toffee and caramel. There is some roasted malt below it but mostly obscured. Hints of chocolate compliment the whiskey.

T: Whiskey is a little more subdued here but still prominent. Surprisingly not as harsh as I was expecting given the freshness of the brew and the length of time in barrels. Nice rye whiskey blending with char and dark chocolate from the roasted malt. Toffee, earthiness and a touch of honey in the middle. Very oaky throughout, particularly in the aftertaste with a touch of vanilla. Finishes with a vanilla and honey flourish. Has almost a peppery spiciness which I assume is from the rye. Whiskey is surprisingly well integrated but still stands as out enough.

M: Somewhat heavy, has a creamy, almost chalky sort of mouth-coating effect. Slick and sticky, can almost feel the honey in the aftertaste.

O: Excellent barrel treatment. I've never had the base beer but it seems like a simpler imperial stout. The honey does add a nice touch of complexity though. However, as mentioned, the barrel aging really elevates it. A must-have for a rye whiskey fan - one of the few well-done rye whiskey aged beers. Possibly the best I've had.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the final installment in the 2011 eclipse series for myself. have loved the ride. enjoyed from a cbs snifter.

bottle # 321

a - pried the wax and filled my glass. much like the others, the brew a watery black with just shy of a finger's worth of creamy tan head. the milky head slowly bubbled away leaving a thin skin of head and small milky bubbly islands on the surface of the brew. lacing was spotty and streaky. in the glass, the beer looked much fuller than when poured. swirling the glass brought things back to life momentarily, then the hugeness of the brew defeated the head leaving some additional lacing on the glass.

s - the barrel immediately jumps out in the nose. rye whiskey...YUM. with a great undertone of a thick chocolatey stout. i've long been a fan of whiskey aged stouts...perhaps even more-so than bourbon barrels. the rye adds a great element of rye sweetness and the wood imparts some oaky vanilla. smells dynamite!

t - the whiskey again takes center stage and imparts some rye whiskey oaky vanilla notes. the stout is definitely in the backseat, but the roasty chocolateness is definitely there. strong sweetness.

m - there is a definite whiskey tingle. the beer is rather smooth, as expected...but the whiskey bite is definitely evident.

o - overall, this is a nice beer, but not the highlight of the series by any stretch of the imagination. however, this brew is aged in rye whiskey barrels so it is definitely unique in the series as the bulk are bourbon barrel. i'm definitely a fan of whiskey aged brews and anything with rye, but the mix here was not mind blowing. very good, not great.

Photo of aasher
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of my beautiful fiance, who paid $34 for this Eclipse in Chicago awhile back.

This beer pours a medium bodied dark chocolate brown with a slight, slightly soapy beige one finger lacing. The nose is sweet and chocolaty and features aromas of lightly roasted coffee and honey with a touch of whiskey. It is very rich. The flavors follow suit. There are loads of sweet chocolate, honey, light roast, and some alcohol (and I don't mean the whiskey). If anything, the whiskey is slightly present in the aftertaste. It drinks medium in body with plenty of residual sugar. It's sweeter than I imagined. I know Eclipse is an "imperial stout brewed with honey" but this is the first version that I've noticed any honey. Overall this was a solid stout, but a little too light in body for my liking and a little sweet. For the price, it isn't worth it but its a nice beer overall.

Photo of alpinebryant
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 1645, 2011

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown that light can shine through only at the edges.

S: Aroma of bittersweet bakers chocolate, light bourbon and oak directly out of the fridge and of course some sweet malt and a bit of booze.

T: Starts off with a bit of a booze kick, closely followed by American oak and rye whiskey. Dark bakers chocolate, cocoa and bitter chocolate malts mixing smoothly together. I can really enjoy all of these flavors and it is very easy to drink or sip. Sweet and roasty mixing with the dark roast malts to even this out / balance the flavors.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a light carbonation. It is not watery, but could be slightly thicker. In any event, it is very drinkable in its current viscosity.

O: This is very good, only minor fault that I can detect is a very slight ashy presence right at the very end. This of course would probably be stronger if not aged in barrels that previously had Rye Whiskey in them.

Photo of sweemzander
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to Matt for sharing!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Some tan froth.

(S)- A nice rich aroma. Nice subtle oak and bourbon bits with just a kiss of spice, raisin, and molasses.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A nice profile of oaky bourbon, raisin, caramel, and cocoa.

(M)- A good carbonation level. A nice balance too albiet, a touch thinner, but nice bourbon characters.

(D)- Another great variance to the eclipse barrel line. A bit more bourbon forward, but with flavors to back it up.

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

2010 Vintage opened 04/30/12

A: Jet black with a crema-like wisp of brown head.

S: Rye whiskey, cocoa, vanilla, heaps of oak barrel, dark fruits. Compared to fresh Eclipse, the wood character is mellow and more integrated and the booze is restrained.

T: Decadent chocolate, vanilla frosting, sweet rounded whiskey character all wrapped in mellow oak. Wonderful, though I do prefer fresher Eclipse.

M: Again the brewer's use of Honey is genuis here. For such a high gravity beer it is remarkably slick and drinkable.

O: Still probably my favorite stout in the world. Very interesting to taste an older bottle and compare the differences a year makes.

Photo of homebrew311
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with some light passage, dense tan head, great retention

S: heavy rue whiskey, vanilla, caraway zestiness, chocolate, light hops on finish

T: smooth whiskey shines through nicely, vanilla, cream, chocolate, great balance

Mf: thicker base stout which holds up nicely to the barrels, mellow carbonation

O: one of the tastier variants I have had, smooth, full flavor

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

Very nice shade of black, well nearly. A large frothy head of half an inch of almond color holds long retention and shows fine lacing.

Phenomenal aromas. Chocolate, great whisky character, fruity, with some spicy rye notes, big oak and layered black fruits. Vanilla, molten caramel and toffee notes.

Again just delicious and supple. Nice oak tannins on the finish, long and semi sweet. Milk chocolate on the middle and finish, with a swirl of bitter cocoa throughout. Spicy rye on the finish while the mid palate is enamored with vanilla, oak, currant, burnt caramel, leather, and whisky soaked plums. Mouth is decadent, smooth and creamy. Gonna be sad when this ones gone.

Photo of sholland119
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sharing the bomber with vickster529.

A-Pours an opaque deep brown to black with a nice thin pool of mocha head.

S-Mmmm. Sweet mocha, dark fruit, candied walnuts, rum soaked cherries. All things sweet and boozy.

T-Nicely managed boozy heat and dark fruit. Some mocha notes and chocolate covered cherries.

M-Medium to heavy, coats the tongue nicely.

O-Really nice. Delicious richness, well restrained booziness.

HV

Photo of peacebone116
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 650-mL bottle with green wax (bottle no: 195/2011) into a Delirium tulip.

A: Deep dark brown with hints of red. There is a smallish cap of khaki head that floats on the top for a while before receding to the sides of the glass where it clings for dear life as the rest of beer gets swept away, sip by sip.

N: The nose is initially quite, for lack of a better word, funky. As the beer has time to breathe, notes of charred oak dominate. There is a very subtle whisky note amidst a sea of toasted malts that emulate chocolate and coffee.

T/M: The taste does not entirely follow the nose--there is, of course, the predominate toasted grain qualities of chocolate and a hint of coffee. However, there are flavors of oak and rye whisky (i.e., earth & pepper). This mouthfeel is very unique to the Eclipse line--smooth and creamy like the others, but with a much dryer characteristic. There is a touch of boozy heat, but nothing too dominant.

Overall, this is my least favorite of the Eclipse series. Although it is a bit of a positive that there is less pronounced heat from the alcohol, I do miss how the sweeter bourbon and brandy barrels bring out more of the sweetness in the beer. Still a fantastic beer, just maybe not as much for the price.

Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a small, light brown head of thick foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of oak, rye and some spicy notes. Good roasty aromas.

T - It tasted roasted malt, dark chocolate, toffee and sweet rye. Good spiciness with some oak and vanilla.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This was fantastic. My second Eclipse and it was outstanding.

Photo of kevanb
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage, enjoyed 3/24/2012

The pour is a nice jet black color with minimal transparency, a faint head appears before receding into nothingness. There is a lingering film atop the glass and a nice ring of caramel colored head that sticks to the circumference of the glass as well. The nose is amazing, rich chocolate, hazelnut and rye whiskey pair together exceptionally well. Grainy malt and and a nice prickly spice from the rye come out and blend amazingly well with the predominant nutty chocolate aromas and make for a wonderful nose that is more than inviting. Spot on flavor wise, big rye elements play with the powerful malt and chocolate, but also open up to some atypical nutty flavors. The earthiness one would expect from a stout is there, chocolaty and malty but also woody from the barrel, but there is a lingering nuttiness, almost like a Nutella-esque flavor, such as hazelnut or even a roasted walnut. The alcohol is slightly apparent and lends some sweetness which cuts down the strong earthiness of the beer and makes it exceptionally approachable. The body is a bit thin, but with a lower ABV (10%) for a barrel aged stout, it’s not unwelcome.

Verdict: This is top class, the aging did a magnificent job, taking an already world class beer to a new echelon. If you have any opportunity to try a vintage Eclipse, it’s worth your while.

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

22 oz bomber, 2011 vintage bottle number 2057, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours totally black, mahogany highlights at the edges, forms a thin tan head that reedes quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass, leaves pretty good lacing.

S- Pretty barrel-forward, lots of whiskey notes along with oak and vanilla, some tobacco, sweet maple syrup, some roasted notes in the background with dark chocolate and cocoa.

T- Not quite as heavy on the barrel as the nose implied, not as sweet either, whiskey is present but subtle, oak and vanilla complement it well. The beer is very well balanced by a strong roastiness with really nice chocolate and coffee flavors. Finishes with a bitter charred coffee bean flavor.

M- Medium to full bodied, relatively light and easy drinking, has a smooth velvety texture with low carbonation.

O- One of my favorite Eclipse varieties so far, definitely up there with the EC 12 and 18, the barrel flavors are done extremely well and the chocolate and roasted flavors are delicious, pretty damn drinkable for such a big stout as well.

Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 469 ratings.