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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
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Reviews: 176
Hads: 560
Avg: 4.29
pDev: 8.16%
Wants: 246
Gots: 287 | 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
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Reviews: 176 | Hads: 560
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 ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a touch of brown and a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate head. Fades normal.

S - Chocolate and dark caramel malts, molasses, Bourbon, vanilla, oak, black licorice, dark cocoa, coffee, booze.

T - Sweet dark chocolate and caramel malts, Bourbon, vanilla, oak, molasses, coffee, black licorice, bitter dark cocoa, touch of dark fruit, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and a bit syrupy with a warming, sweet, and lightly spicy finish.

D - Great barrel aged stout. The bourbon is a very smooth and works very well with the base beer.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance-wise, it's the same as any other beer in the series, and surely similar to most beers of the style: dark, opaque black, with a small, dense cap of tan head that receded to a ringlet, maybe a few random trails of lacing on the glass. Aroma of dark roasty malts, dark chocolate, bourbon, molasses; not a hop to be had. Dark malts in the taste, fairly roasty, notes of dark chocolate and espresso, burnt caramel, vanilla and oak with a solid bourbon quality, warm but not quite hot with booze, touch of anise in the finish. Body on the heavier side of medium, carbonation adequately low, a quite enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I'll start by saying that Evan Williams is my favorite bourbon. So, buying a duplicate bottle of the Eclipse Evan Williams by "mistake" (as far as my wife knows) turned out to be a blessing because it afforded me the opportunity to try this guy and cellar the other one. It pours an opaque, very dark brown with glints of cola brown around the bottome edge of the glass when held to the light. A 1/2 inch burnt caramel colored head forms and sits atop the nearly black liquid, making the appearance very appealing. The aromas aren't obtrusive like one would expect with a BA imperial stout. But the oaky vanilla comes through first, followed by some roasted malt, and some faint bourbon last. The mouthfeel is nearly perfect for this beer. Not just the style, but the way this particular beer manifests itself. Despite it being a BA imperial stout, the flavors aren't huge, so the smooth, creamy, a bit chewy, but not viscous mouthfeel is the perfect combination with the aromas and flavors. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate, and dark, ripe fruit all come through pretty distinctively. The bourbon alcohol remains on the back of the tongue after the beer has been swallowed. I am really enjoying this one, but not quite as much as the Elijah Craig 12 year old.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A study in corn whiskey for those fans. Not so carbonated. Boozy. Some lace drops. The barreling yielded tastes of coconut, caramel, chocolate. Drinkable, owing much to the sweetness, but to me just a regular imperial stout. Bottle from Premier split with Liam.

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Photo of liamt07
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Sammy - Bottle from Premier Gourmet, 650ml into a tulip. Tasted alongside 4 other variants.

Black with a tan head. Nose has some fruitier bourbon notes, chocolate, oak, light vanilla and some brown sugar. Bourbon at the front on the palate, alcohol, and dark chocolate/roast well into the finish.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage shared with some friends.
Pours a solid black with a decent sized tan head that slowly dissipates. The aroma is roasty, chocolate, caramel and coffee wrapped in a subtle but evident barrel treatment of vanilla, and sweet bourbon whiskey. The flavor starts off sweet and malty with lots of roast, brown sugar, and chocolate. The barrel notes rush in with vanilla, whiskey, light wood to remind us that this is no ordinary stout. Lingering roast lasts long after every sip. Thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy creamy mouthfeel. This version was probably the smoothest that we sampled tonight.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, BR 1 2012
Beer Scene Philly snifter

A: Pours nearly pitch black. Deep brown color with some reddish hues on the edges. Didn't get hardly any head initially. Swirl got some to come up that was medium tan in color. Leaves some sticky lacing. Some alcohol feet are certainly there.

S: Big dark chocolate right away. Toasted coconut. Vanilla hints. Booze. Toffee. Maybe some marshmallow.

T: Deep dark chocolate bitterness on tip of tongue. Some of that blueberry-like note I usually pull from big RIS. Some caramel and toffee. Dark cocoa on back end. Finish has some lingering bitterness from that chocolate. You get a touch of booze in the throat, but I like it.

M: Full bodied. Some creaminess.

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Photo of Treebs
4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Bottle # 2298. Thanks to kevanb for this one a while ago.

A: Pours a dark black color with dark brown edges. A little head forms on the pour and recedes to nothing. No lace.

S: Brownie bits with some bitter chocolate. The barrel is nice with smooth bourbon, caramel and oak.

T: The bourbon is smooth and sweet up front. There is a fine roasted malt profile with a backing of oak, unsweetened chocolate and a little toffee.

M: A tad thin for my liking. Medium light body with a medium carbonation level.

O: Very delicious. Not quite in the same echelon as the EC barrel versions, but it is right there.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle to HFS Sniffer

A: dark as night and completely opaque, but with that being said it is closer to extremely dark brown then black. There is a small mocha head that fades to a thick lacing around the outside of the glass, but essentially what a BA stout should be maybe slightly darker.

S:wow it hits hard upfront (though this seemed to fade) with bourbon and chocolate with lots of it. The wood from the barrel really comes out as well with some roasted smells but not really coffee or smoke hard to describe. Starts really well but fades fast.

T: It follows the nose with lots of bourbon chocolate flavor up front, the bourbon flavor is strong but not overwhelming. There is a little bit of malt in there and a tiny amount of roasted coffee flavor. Though the bitterness in the finish is closer to dark chocolate that is mixed with the bourbon flavor that lasts for awhile after even a small sip.

M: First thoughts are "wow this is pretty thin for BA stout" it definitely does have some chewiness to it but i like my BA stouts thick and heavy. However the flip side of this that it is slightly oily and very drinkable going down really easily, especially for a BA stout. The alcohol is also completely hidden, but i expected that at only 9.5%.

O: So i was officially impressed lived up to the hype and for the most part the hefty price tag. This can definitely complete with the big boys like KBS or BCBS, but I don't think it is quite on par maybe a step or two below. That being said it was a great beer that I highly recommend if you can get your hands on it. I'd love to try the other varieties, but unfortunately I can't fund that on my own.

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Photo of muttyd
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 version

As expected, thick black creamy pour with a thin tan head. Head settles into a faint ring. Wish the head persisted throughout. Looks rather bland at first glance.

Nose hits all the right notes: whiskey burn, coffee, roasted malts and chocolate. Some molasses in their as well. Flavor follows the nose with a very prevalent whiskey flavor in the finish. Sweet, but well rounded with enough roasty flavor to balance it out. Almost no hop flavor, as it is overpowered by the big barrel flavor. Thick and creamy, coats the mouth. Solid overall, but not as good as the Elijah Craig.

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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 Dope
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage.

A: Pours a very dark brown. Big dense but fizzy medium brown head. Head fades quite slowly with great retention. Almost a solid wall of lacing is left behind which is quite nice.

S: Big bourbon as you might expect. Kind of a dry bourbon with toffee and some caramel. Good amount of chocolate in there, you can really get a good sense of the roasted malt in this one. Pretty boozy and oaky too.

T: Like the other variants there is heavy booze up front. Caramel and toffee primarily. Again, surprisingly dry. Nice cocoa and bitter chocolate. Bourbon fades away leaving primarily the chocolate and introducing a toasted marshmallow flavor. I noticed this marshmallow flavor in my previous 50/50 Eclipse, the Old Fitzgerald version. However, never noticed it in any of the other variants. Very interesting - not as prominent in this beer however. It melds well with the bitter chocolate I will say, giving this beer a wonderful bitter chocolate/burnt marshmallow finish. A little more drying in the aftertaste with char and bitter chocolate, getting a hint of that oak too.

M: Quite full bodied and velvety.

O: Very tasty Eclipse variant. Bourbon feels a little cheap and plain, although I am not a true connoisseur of whiskey unfortunately. Having said that, it integrates well. Initial flavor doesn't hold up to some of the other variants but the rest of the brew is still excellent. Great mouthfeel too, a little bit smoother than some of the others. Overall a delicious beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. BR-1 Vintage 2012.

A classic dark walnut brown, just wants to hint at black but doesn't quite get there, with nice chestnut red/brown edges. Head makes barely a finger, but what little there is does stay, in a somewhat dark mocha color. Manages an attractive wispy top and several pencil thin rings of a collar while drinking.

Nose is quite delicious with a bourbon whiskey caramel angle that fits nicely. Charing roast malt, with soot angle. Caramel becomes quite dominant with a sense of bourbon aging not from the malt bill. A little bit of "spice" kick also, not sure what that angle is on first impression, but it's nice. Hints also at a good salt angle, which matches real nicely with the caramel. Great bouquet.

Palate is a classic example of what a malty dark roasted stout should be. Char and a good warmth both hinting at malts and barrel charred. Then caramel bourbon warmth comes out, with a salty peanut like action. Body has a good light depth, mostly it seems from the honey, but this is not very silky. Not overly sweet, in fact quite downplayed on the sweetness which I enjoy. As your palate rests, some hop bitterness even comes out which feels real good, giving the beer an interesting warmth. Not boozy, but the brew has a nice kick with all this flavor and this faint hop sting at the finish.,

Overall I am not sure what to say, these Eclipse barrel brews so far from Fifty Fifty are very impressive.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottling.

Appearance: Pours pretty much pitch black, and moderately viscous. Forms a nice tan head that has good retention.

Smell: Bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and quite a bit of bourbon on the nose. Not much roast to speak of. Not overly complex, but good.

Taste: Taste follows the smell. This imp. stout is not overly sweet with some dark chocolate bitterness, along with some vanilla and a moderately prevalent bourbon presence. There are many bourbons that I prefer over EW, and I can say the same about the bourbon presence in this beer. Seems a bit rough around edges. Still, I cannot complain how it is incorporated into the beer, as they got the overall level of barrel about right.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Smooth, full and silky mouthfeel. Good level of carbonation. Finishes with some bourbon and vanilla. Good. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. A very good stout, and I hope I get to try some of the other versions at some point.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into tasters - 2012 vintage - thanks gillian

Pours an inky black with little head, lacing or retention. Small lining of tanned film rings around the glass.

Rich chocolate soaked bourbon nose with oaked, boozy warmth. Residual vanilla sweetness with caramel and roasted dark malts. Cocoa, chocolate cake and alcohol.

Warm, sweet and boozy right up front. Chocolately tones with cocoa and caramel, vanilla and oaky char. Thick, burly malt backbone; roasted, dark and soaked in bourbon. Nice combination of sweet, boozy and roasty. Finishes with boozy chocolate.

Fuller body, milder carbonation, creamy and slick on the tongue. I've enjoyed all of the Eclipses so far, although I'm definitely realizing the price tag probably isn't worth it. Also, extensive aging (I still have a number of 2010 bottles) may or may not be necessary, depending on what you're searching for from these.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very little caramel colored soapy head rose from the intense black brew. Not overly thick. No lacing.

Pasty, vanilla (tons), Bourbon resin, intense chocolate, molasses, rich black wood..

Whoa. Sweet, but not a sugar bomb... High carbonation, only slightly detracts from rich flavorful flavors. Chocolate, molasses, toasted coconut, strong vanilla, bourbon heat kick, but you can tell it's faded a ton... Zero bitterness, but, nice fade of tobacco at the back end..

Another GREAT Eclipse series brew... It's hard to pay the $30 price tag, but damn is it worth it.. Evan Williams version is highly recommended, but I prefer the EC 12. Happy 2013 to all.

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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 ehammond1
3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via online purchase

Black body throughout with a very small ring of brown bubbles atop. Not a lot of visible carbonation, but there's nothing wrong with that for a beer of this style. Leaves the glass dotted and spotted with irregular, small bubbles of stick down the glass. Pretty and appropriate.

The nose does bring layers of chocolate, a mild roast character, and just the faintest hint of a bourbon.

The flavor is really quite nice though. Layers of chocolate, roast, integrated bourbon, and a touch of alcohol warmth combine quite nicely. This isn't the most complex, or most interesting example of a barrel-aged imperial stout, and probably not worth the sticker price all things considered, but this is still a very tasty beer, no matter how you slice it.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Coating and sticky. Quite nice. Lingering chocolate finish is a great attribute of this beer.

A nice beer from FiftyFifty, but not one of my favorite of the variants.

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Photo of IKR
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a modest beige head that slowly faded.

Smell: Bourbon, coffee/roasted malt aromas, brown sugar and some vanilla notes.

Taste: Bourbon, roast malts, mild vanilla, caramel/brown sugar and oak notes. The finish is fairly dry with Bourbon, roast malts notes and mild hop notes.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation Fairly thin bodied for the style.

Overall: Good beer. A bit more Bourbon and hop forward than the 2011 Elijah Craig I recently had, but that could be due to the aging and the fact the 2011 I had was on tap.

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Photo of Rfunk
4.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22oz bottle into my 2012 Vertical Epic glass.

A- Very dark, black color with a silky smooth, very thin layer of caramel colored head. Spotty lacing left on glass. (Recedes as you sip the glass lower)

S- Instantly get the bourbon and vanilla notes. After some "twirling" I could pick out some coffee, but as I said, bourbon and vanilla dominate the aroma.

T- Sweet Jesus. Going right along with the smell, bourbon and vanilla sweetness instantly hit at the front. Swish it around a bit and I could definitely taste chocolate, and a bit of coffee and caramel midway through. The beer finishes with the typical roasty malts that I've come to love, and expect from a good stout. (There are even some oak-like aftertastes that linger between sips)

M- Smooth as butter, with a tiny bubbly sensation that hits the tip of the tongue then fades away as you sip. No burn or intensity from the 9.5% ABV.

O- Out of the 2012 series Eclipse I have had so far, (Elijah, Fitzgerald, and Williams,) this one takes the cake. I would nearly give it a 5, but I have yet to have a beer that was unique and perfect in every sense. The aroma is awesome, and you can taste all, if not more of the scents in this beer. If you are a fan of barrel aged beers, buy two. One to enjoy now, and one to hold on to just in case.)

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Photo of Rinkor16
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at a local bottle shop. Opened on 12/15/12.

A: Pitch black with very little head. Just a light ring around the edge.

S: Smells great, tons of vanilla backed up by some bourbon.

T: Very smooth and well balanced. Very nice vanilla and chocolate flavor with a minor bourbon backbone.

M: Smooth and a very thin mouthfeel for a stout.

O: This is my first Eclipse from FiftyFifty and I'm very impressed. Definitely a great barrel aged stout. At $25 a bottle, it's definitely worth picking up one or two. I can't wait to enjoy this again in a year.

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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 brystmar
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I somehow forgot to include this review in my mass copy/paste from EverNote after our big tasting in March. 2010 Evan Williams (black wax).

Pours just like the others. Bourbon, roasty malt, chocolate. Some mild figs hidden in there too. Smooth bourbon character imparts boozy warmth as I drink. Really doesn't seem much better or worse than -- or even that different from -- the others. A few friends said this was their favorite from recent tastings, but it definitely doesn't stand out to me amongst its peers.

Overall, this finished middle of the pack; '11 EC18 was our group's consensus favorite. And honestly, I was unimpressed across the board with most of these beers. Bourbon County Stout is far superior to all of them except EC18. Very glad I got to try them all, but EC18 is the only one I'd seek out again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.88/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 bottle. I didn't write down the bottle number. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - No head and not quite black. Wisps of lace, but otherwise a rather lackluster-looking stout. Not impressive.

Smell - Oh man that is awesome barreling. Bourbon. Complex bourbon, if that makes sense. Vanilla and oak. My only issue is that I can barely smell the stout.

Taste - Really great barrel flavors again. Bourbon, oak, vanilla. Caramel and chocolate come through, but the stout still isn't shining. It's all about the barrel here.

Mouthfeel - Thin, but no booze. Low carbonation, as I would have expected given its appearance.

Overall - The barrel is perfect. The stout is mediocre. Tough to rate the beer, but it's still damn tasty.

Edit: Lowered the numbers on this after having it next to the other Eclipses. Definitely a cheaper booze.

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