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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon

Educational use only; do not reuse.

176 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 176
Hads: 563
Avg: 4.29
pDev: 14.45%
Wants: 244
Gots: 289 | FT: 25
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: largadeer on 12-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 176 | Hads: 563
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very nice bourbon aged beer overall, thanks to Michael- yourefragile, for bringing this to a recent tasting at my place.

A: A Black hue with dark brown edges to the glass and great lacing, really an excellent web of lacing is left as I go through this beer.

S: Outstanding sweeter side of bourbon comes through, more of a gentler bourbon smell than most bourbon aged beers. Nice licorice and slight roasted malt with some smoke, chocolate, and then a sweetness I can only describe as cotton candy-like. '

T: Awesome taste, has a strong ale raisin and vanilla quality (I'm thinking like older viscosity-esque) with a marshmellow-cotton candy sweeter bourbon barrel and only a little roast. Lactose sugars, caramel, ripe banana mixed with dark fruit. Again, it really reminds me of Lost Abbey/Port Brewing.

M: Not as much roast as hoped, but nice and creamy on the palate and not as thick as most Double stouts.

Overall a nice beer I would certainly like to have again.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage - Black Wax. Poured in to snifter.

A - Poured black with a thin layer of medium brown head.

S - Sweet bourbon and vanilla up front that give way to oak, chocolate fudge and molasses aromas. Fairly sweet overall nose with a good balance of barrel notes and the base beer.

T - Bourbon, vanilla and oak flavours up front from the barrel with a nice sweetness. Mid-palate adds dark caramel, chocolate fudge and a hint of molasses. The finish has roast and more barrel.

M - Medium to full body. Sludgy and silky at the same time. Light carbonation.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

650ml black waxed bomber 2013 bottle, bottle run #2, poured into tulip 21/12/13

A black liquid with a deep cola edge, two fingers of mocha foam slowly falls leaving three rings followed continuous lace deep down the glass after it fell to a thin film, sexy looking stuff

S wood, bruised plum, sweet bourbon, caramel, almost a cream brulee thing going on, some booze on a deep whiff but I'm not buying the nearly 12% I see on the bottle, I might be crazy but I get a little cinnamon, lots of chocolate fudge and a little licorice

T not quite everything the nose had going for it but still solid stuff, a little espresso and the woods a little burnt, caramel and cream brulee's not quite there, not as fruity but fudge and licorice still play a part, booze is still very well hidden

M doesn't feel too heavy at first but it ends up quite creamy and feels full, shes well carbonated for a big monster much to my surprise, slick on the palate and lots of dark roast on the finish, the booze is so mellow I don't feel it in my throat but it hits my head a little

O this ones working well for me, great nose, feels wonderful, tastes solid and the booze is nearly invisible

I'm hoping the rest of my 50-50 mixed case is this good, I'm not sure if I believe this is clocking in just shy of 12%, if it is perhaps I could jack up the score even further. If this is a true and fresh 12%er I can't wait to see what age dose to my second bottle

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a flute, huge thanks to Nate for sharing this! My first FiftyFifty beers, so I'm really excited to see how this is!

Pours a dark, dark oily black with almost no head, very thick looking, nose is bourbon up and down, but it isn't hot on the nose as I usually expect from bourbon BA beers.

Taste is very rich and thick, the bourbon is balanced well with the dark sweet maltiness, it has a really nice finish that kinda coats your mouth with rich chocolate notes.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to largadeer for sharing a bottle of this on our visit to Beechwood BBQ after the Bruery Reserve Society Party. Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured pitch black with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, chocolate, cream, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, chocolate, and alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew. Had a very nice flavor and aroma going on here. Not a whole lot missing at all on this one. It is an absolute must try... Can't wait to try other things from this series.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small dark brown foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of vanilla and bourbon are quite strong with some coffee notes also discernable. Taste is a mix between some coffee notes with black chocolate and some nice vanilla notes with smooth bourbon notes on top of it. Body is full with good creamy texture and medium carbonation with no alcohol notes perceptible. Very nice beer and definitely makes me want to discover more beers from this brewery.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with my buddy Johnny. Big thanks to Joey at SBD.

A- Pretty much pitch black. Mocha colored 2 fingered head forms. Nice lacing

S- Warm blend of bourbon, chocolate malt. I get some oakiness as well, but the heat is masking some of the smell.

T- Awesome, A nice smooth stout. The flavor develops to a nice mocha/bourbon/chocolate/caramel stout. The bourbon is just perfect blend, and has a nice oaky finish. Aftertaste leaves a hoppy tang on the tongue.

M- It's very good, maybe a little on the light side, but only a smidge. Very nice a complex, and the flavor just goes on forever.

D- I just want more and more. Very very nice, can't wait to try the rest of the series.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours black and totally opaque. 1/4 tan inch head and good retention for a small pour

Smell: The nose starts off with just a touch of bourbon and oak and then you get faint traces of the base beer coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate

Taste: The beer itself is a bit on the sweet side. The barrel aging definitely introduced a oak character to the beer that was not in the base beer. But besides that I dont think the barrel again really did a whole lot for the beer. I only got faint traces of bourbon

Mouthfeel: Full body and low carbonation and definitely leaves a nice coating in your mouth

Overall: Very good beer but not quite great but highly recommended and I would love to get more bottles of this

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Photo of FosterJM
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

353rd review on BA
bottle to tulip
750 ML

Thanks to GuruDel for sharing this one

App- A good dark stout. Had a nice one finger head and left some nice cling to the side of my glass.

Smell- HUGE smelling stout. Big bourbon notes with the vanilla accents that I really like in my stouts.

Taste- A very sweet stout with the vanilla and oak taking center stage. The bourbon allowed the beer to open up and become a very good beer.

Mouth- For a stout of this nature it seemed a bit thin but still retained a nice medium body and a medium carbonation level to it.

Drink- I really liked this one and would love to try the other variants to see if that much of a different taste was imparted. A very good stout and I see what all the hub bub was about.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed this at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06.

black as the dead of night. nice bourbon smell, seemed very similar to the BA speedway we just tried as being bourbon forward and somewhat similar on the nose. others in the group felt that they were drastically different. very sweet, the flavor is really nice and the bourbon seems to blend nicely with the base beer. thick, rich and tastey....kind of what you'd expect from a bourbon stout...great example for a bourbon aged stout.

*** ** * edit * ** ***
2013-01-30 2012 vintage. same look and general vibe, but once again the thing that sticks out is the incredible balance. great chocolate and booze and wood notes all in the right place. just delicious. another vintage, another winner.

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Photo of mistakebythelake
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared this Eclipse version at the bal stout tasting in the Nati.

Served in a snifter revealing a black with brownish tints when held to some light. Slight head that left a bit of lacing on my glass. Dark malts, bourbon, chocolate and dark fruits. Tasted very similar to the smells yet was not as boozy or "hot" as I or a couple of us thought it would be. I enjoyed the vanilla and bourbon flavors a lot. Very balanced with the bourbon and malts and a creamy mouthfeel that went down pretty smooth. Definitely enjoyed this version and will probably let this version sit in my cellar for another half year and share again. Surprised at how drinkable it was.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. Bottle # 2135.

Pours an opaque black with a very small 1/4 inch dark khaki head that fades to an oily cap. Random streaks and dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is very complex with bourbon, wood, vanilla, dark roasted malt, and cocoa powder. Taste is very rich and boozy with bourbon, vanilla, wood up front with roasted malt and cocoa flavors on the finish. A huge hit of bourbon alcohol lingers on the tongue and the back of the throat after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good imperial stout with a strong bourbon presence in the flavor. I really enjoyed this beer and I consider myself lucky to find a bottle of this on a shelf in San Francisco. They had a few other bottles and I now wish I had purchased those too, even at the $25 per bottle price tag.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A LOT of hype around the Eclipse series. I told myself to take it easy with Eclipse, and what do you know, the opportunity presented itself at the Rose & Crown. Even more honoring was splitting the bottle with my collegue Ricardo, who helps run a Brazilian beer rating website (www.brejas.com.br). On to the beer:

Black, black, and black. Light isn't going to penetate through the body. A small tanned head forms, dropping away to a thin lace. The nose brings the barrel characterists. Here comes oak, vanilla, and molasses.

This is good, and the taste becomes even better as it warms. At times, I almost forgot that I was drinking a stout. Very heavy are the barrel characterstics. Flavors of honey, vanilla, oak, molasses, and evenutally a big kick of licorice and a gentle dose of dark chocolate. The body is smooth and seems medium heavy; it's not one to weigh you down or leaves tons of residue around your lips after you're done drinking it. The alcohol is inserted well, only coming up as a warming sensation in the throat.

I have good news, it's a very good beer. It still doesn't compell me to chase right after the rest of the Eclipse series, but if the opportunity is right, I'll be happy to experiment.

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Photo of Overlord
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The only one I could get my hands on (damn, these sell out fast). With a potential/pending few trades in the work, I was excited to see what I thought of this. Had it back to back to back with Black Tuesday and Dark Lord 2009.

It isn't black, more of a dark brown. Okay, maybe blackish in its core. A surprisingly large inch or so of brownish/tan head. Actually .... kinda translucent. Very surprising. Looks thin. Hmm.... I am concern.

Smells like dark chocolate, some sticky, really sweet caramel, a bit of weird nutty liqueur notes, and just a dash of lighter sweetness. I don't know, kind of a toffee-ish muscat note.

Surprised by the amount of chocolate and vanilla in it, as it wasn't really a bourbon-y or vanilla-y beer in the nose. But, a bunch of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, and that interesting/weird liqueur muscat aftertaste. There's almost no roast. A very sweet beer. A bit of alcohol heat, but it's a pretty clean beer.

It's a bit too thin. With a bit more body, I think there'd be almost no heat noticeable. It's smooth, quaffable, but not particularly viscous.

It's a good beer. I'm heartened by the fact that it isn't the best reviewed beer of the series, but I'm a little concerned that the base beer appears pretty thin. Then again, it seemed to have worked out pretty well for this version in terms of integrating bourbon flavors without overpowering the base.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was one of my contributions to the drinks during a poker game, part of the endless struggle to get others drunk while gambling their money away. It didn't work for me this time...

It pours a dark brown, mostly opaque although you can see through it a little on the edges (just a little). Thin tan foam that lasted for the 15 minutes or so that it took me to drink my 1/3 of the bottle, no real lacing.

Nice bourbon aromas, very strong as was the case with the Four Roses version I tried a few days ago, both being less refined in aroma than the PVW I tried 1 week ago (which was a lot older). Probably with time this will become more integrated. Behind the bourbon I picked up the scents I'm starting to really appreciate in these Eclipse stouts, more sweet than roasty, cocoa and vanilla, heavy sugar like honey or molasses.

Same in the flavor, this is somewhat hot but in a way that showcases the best bourbon flavors, the sweet stout letting the bourbon shine. Cocoa and vanilla, a hint of roast, and strong blasts of bourbony deliciousness. Excellent.

Medium-heavy, this is definitely not thick but seems just adequate enough to match the flavors. None of the Eclipses I've tried have been really heavy, which probably helps increase drinkability.

Another great Eclipse beer, I'm now pretty much converted to them. So glad to try them.

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Photo of younger35
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received one of these from Black13 and oregonskibum, thanks guys! This will be my first foray into FiftyFifty brewing but I did enjoy some of the brewers beer from Flossmoor Station (for a brief time). Drank from my Darkness snifter.

2010 version bottle 156

Appearance- Pours a very dark brownish black with a small quarter finger dark tan head.
Smell- Very rich smelling with a big rush of sweet milk chocolate upon my first whiff. Plenty of caramel hiding in there as well with a touch of smooth woody bourbon. Not much of a dark roasty smell but there is a tiny bit of coffee hiding in there. Almost nutty smelling too with a roasted almond thing going on. The more I smell it the more I get some of that barrel and whiffs of vanilla.
Taste- Starts pretty bold with a more muted sweetness than I expected. The chocolate is nice and fairly intense but it leans more toward the dark version. I get more of that nuttiness I got in the nose with a sort of roasted pecan thing. A touch of brown sugar and plenty of vanilla from the fairly prevalent taste of the barrels. A bit of bitterness steps in from either the bold roasted aspect or some nice balancing hops. The wood isn't harsh but it sort of tannic and intense. I can't say I've ever had Evan Williams Bourbon but there is a bit of warming. The finish is chocolaty and lightly nutty with more of that vanilla.
Mouthfeel- A little thin for my liking in a big Imperial Stout but I'd call it somewhere around medium bodied. A nice zip of carbonation and a touch of warming.
Drinkability- Definitely one of the better Imperial Stouts I've had in quite some time. I look forward to see how the Evan Williams barrel compares to the others. It's not overly sweet (which I love) and the wood/bourbon definitely add their own stamps of flavor. Great beer that I'm glad I have another of (and different versions!). Thanks much gentlemen!

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Photo of Pencible
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #2148, reviewed November 2011

A: This poured an opaque black with almost no head.
S: It smelled like dark chocolate and coffee and bourbon, with some molasses and cola and vanilla.
T: It tasted like chocolate and coffee and bourbon, with some coconut and vanilla and oak and toasted almonds. It had a clean and sweet coconut aftertaste.
M: It was oily with moderate carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This beer = Almond Joy, with huge coconut and almond and dark chocolate character. It had a very nice scent and taste, with great body and fairly well hidden alcohol. So it was easy to drink, but worth sipping. It would probably age well, but it was nice (relatively) fresh. Definitely recommended, if you can find it.

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Photo of cvm4
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BR # 1, 2012.

A - Very dark brown body, almost black. Has a tan one finger head.

S - Caramel, dark chocolate, caramel, roasted malts and vanilla.

T - Malty, has a backbone of semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla. Really good, can seem really sweet.

M - Full bodied and oh so creamy.

O - Excellent variation of the beer.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

From notes on 3/15/14

Very dark. Great bourbon smell. Some sweet aromas. Very tasty. Great woody bourbon flavors. The malt flavors are great. This beer is excellent.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black body with a dense cappuccino colored head. Good retention.

Aromas really pop. The bourbon brings heavy vanilla and oak. Fudge brownies, leathery earthy smells, espresso.

The fudge and coffee intertwine naturally with the vanilla. The oak lingers on the back of the tongue with a slight boozy heat

Heavy and smooth body with low carbonation. Very smooth.

I love these eclipse variants but wish the price tag was about $10 less. They're fantastic, but there's better for a more reasonable cost.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, 2012 black wax version, bottle number BR1, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours black with a thin brown head that recedes to a thin collar, leaves a bit of spotty lacing.

S- Lots of vanilla, chocolate and caramel with some bourbon accents in the background, roast malt is pretty subtle.

T- Similar to the aroma, lots of rich dark chocolate and vanilla, some caramel and sugar as well as bourbon sweetness, roasted flavors, which make an appearance towards the finish, definitely take a backseat to sweet malts and barrel character.

M- Medium-bodied, low carbonation with a smooth, rich feel.

O- Another excellent beer in the Eclipse series, really showcases some nice chocolate flavors and nice subtle barrel character, very tasty stuff.

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Photo of Soonami
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to SidVicious619 for sending me this.

This beer is a beautiful black with virtually no head. It smells a little oxidized but has huge bourbon nose. The sweet, sweet stout has lots of vanilla and oaky bourbon. It's both smokey and creamy at the same time. This is a great beer, that is almost as good as the Four Roses, which I really enjoyed, I can only imagine how good Pappy and Elijah Craig are.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My first Eclipse variant, a luxury I was provided by both laymansbeerfan and leschkie. 2012, black-waxed, BR #1, 22oz bomber poured into my Darkness snifter...

A: Dark brown pour yields an opaque black body with a decent tan head with lots of smaller carbonation bubbles.

S: Big roasted malt and stout notes seamlessly combine with a hefty splash of sweeter bourbon; toffee, vanilla, and caramel, with coffee and roast...at room temp there is decent bit of sweet alcohol but it isn't boozy, it's quite pleasant actually.

T: Chocolate, caramel, and vanilla from the bourbon really dominate the palate as well; the body is malty but the roast really is 'Eclipsed' by the sweeter bourbon. Lots of oaky smooth flavors and marshmallow, with a decent dose of coffee bitterness and a flash of dark fruit on the finish.

MF: Smooth, creamy full-bodied mouthfeel with just a bit of sweet alcohol heat on the finish.

O: This beer leans toward rich, decadent chocolate while a bit colder, and really evolves into a bourbon/caramel vehicle at room temp. Simple but still very strong spirit sweetness, without any cloying sense or too much booze. I really enjoyed it. The small amount of alcohol I got from this 2012 bottle shows me that 3-6 more months would be just fine to wait in order to capture a full aroma/flavor profile without the heat.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to injuredreserve for sharing!

From notes...

Black, maybe some brown tinges. Light brown billowy head and nice lacing.

Lots of sweet oaky notes, light bit of booze, whiskey, chocolate, lots of roasted malts and some leather.

Sweet chocolate, oak, wood, mild whiskey booze notes, smooth roasted malts.

Thick, full, and chewy. Nuff said.

Good drink ability. All the hype around these Eclipse's seems to hold up!

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Photo of ms11781
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. Black wax, gold ink bottle #1011. 22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a somewhat thin, solid black. A small tan head develops but doesn't last very long. A ring of foam settles around the edge of the glass and leaves a touch of wispy lacing.

Even with a good amount of age on it the beer still has a potent bourbon and oak aroma. There is considerably more going on even with the dominating bourbon and oak. Some roast, nice vanilla and light chocolate also come through and combine with the bourbon and oak to build a complex aroma.

The taste is every bit as complex as the nose. The bourbon and wood notes still dominate but, as in the nose, the don't overwhelm the other characteristics. A nice toasted malt note that wasn't in the nose is present here and is probably the biggest component aside from the oak and bourbon. The same roast, vanilla and chocolate that came across in the nose are here as well.

Despite the thin appearance the body isn't exactly that. It's not a huge bodied stout but it's fairly big. Low carbonation plays a role in that. There is also a nice warming at the back of the throat from the alcohol.

This is an excellent barrel aged stout. Initially it's looks thin because of the pour. Relatively the mouthfeel is probably a touch thin but it's big enough to hold up the huge aromas and flavors. This beer held up extremely well over the course of 14 months or so. Interesting to see how much longer it will.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.