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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

510 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 510
Reviews: 175
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 8.06%
Wants: 254
Gots: 274 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: largadeer on 12-02-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 510 | Reviews: 175 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up as a Future during last year's release. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours black with a light tan head. The nose immediately brings forward a heavy bourbon presence with a bit of chocolate and some roasted malt. A bit of booze is in the background. The flavor is loaded with smooth bourbon alongside a chocolate and roast presence. Really nice, and my favorite treatment of 2010 other than the Brandy. The oak, bourbon, booze, chocolate, and roast are all there, melding together nicely. Medium body with a slightly-boozy finish. Overall, damn good. Can't wait to see how this ages out.

* I had one bottle of this that was overly hot, but after two additional bottles that were spot on, I think the first one was probably an aberration.

Thorpe429, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of DoubleJ
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

DoubleJ, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

100th review...

After a long week at work, I finally got a chance to relax, play some golf with a few buddies, and pop this monstrosity of a beer while hanging out with the family. Life is good. Cheers to all my brothers and sisters in the BA community, and to life in general...

Poured from a waxed bomber into a Cigar City pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head on a fairly aggressive pour. head retention is decent at best, and there is some slippery lacing to be had...

S - This one smells delectable. Chocolate, vanilla, some roasted barley, and of course, a good dose of Bourbon...

T - Sweet and delicious. Chocolate, vanilla, oak, and smooth Bourbon in the finish. Really impressed with how smooth this one is...

M - Mouthfeel is a little light in my opinion. Still on the light side of a full body, but not as viscous as I was anticipating. Moderate amount of carbonation...

O - Almost a little to easy to drink. Haha, is there such a thing? Wouldn't go as far to call this a session beer, but very smooth and easy to drink nontheless. Pricey, but well worth the price in my opionin. Really looking foward to trying this again with a little age on it...

Cheers...

comfortablynumb1, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottles shared by Lunch and Thorpe429. Thanks Paul and Mike!

The beer appears very dark brown, nearly black. The head is 1/4", and generates a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

The aroma brings bourbon and a general boozy quality, as well as roasted malt. Unsurprisingly, it smells like a barrel-aged stout.

I actually thought the beer tasted better than the aroma would have led me to believe. The beer is slightly sweet throughout, making this a good bottle for sharing a few ways, as one snifter was just right. Bourbon and roast are up front, with more subtle flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and coffee playing a secondary role.

The feel is medium bodied, with alcohol presence throughout, though not necessarily in a negative or distracting way.

Overall, a tasty brew, and one I would happily enjoy again.

Huhzubendah, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of OStrungT
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours an obsidian black color with a brown, thin but fluffy head. The head fades slowly, leaving very little lace.

This beer smells less aggressive than I was expecting. I detect, of course, bourbon. But I also detect raisins, vanilla, and chocolate.

This beer tastes like it smells. A lot more mild than I would expect. Raisins, chocolate, bourbon, dates, and vanilla all mix in wonderfully. It has a sweet malty backbone to it as well. This beer tastes amazing!

This beer is very thich and full bodied. The alcohol is present in the finish. It warms slightly on the way down. It leaves an oaky bourbon aftertaste.

This beer would not make a good session beer. It is a sipper for sure.

Overall: I think this is the best bourbon aged beer I have ever had. It is just amazing. I like how it isnt overly aggressive.

Bottle # 2131 of the 2010 vintage

OStrungT, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of FosterJM
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

FosterJM, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of GuruDel
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Bruery Tulip
Split a bottle with FosterJM

A: Jet black with a decent little head that fades quickly into an almost non-existant ring of small bubbles.

S: AMAZING. Vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, just everything I love in a beer. Sweet notes of ice cream and more vanilla mixed with bourbon. A great smelling beer for sure

T: Follows the nose well, a fantastic combination of vanilla, bourbon and sweet chocolate. The first taste was amazing, followed by each taste being better than the previous. As this warmed the alcohol finally made it's presence known at the end, not hot, but perfectly tied in.

M: This is my only ding, it was a touch thin for me but that is really being picky. There was a slight bit of carbonation which was welcomed.

Overall: I am so glad I got to try this beer, and even more glad that I have another bottle. I am going to see if there are anymore around as I can see myself really going back to this beer multiple times.

GuruDel, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of francisweizen
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark inky black with no light gettin thru'

S: Oak, vanilla, Evan Williams bourbon, biscuity layered malts, dead green hops

T: Smoke, oak, bourbon, vanilla, liquers, dark fruit, hot stone

M: Liquid velvet. Like Egyptian cotton sheets.

O: As an Evan Williams loverI absolutely loved this stuff!

francisweizen, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of brotherloco
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bottle. #2179 - 2010 Evan Williams Edition (Black Wax)

Pours a dark coffee brown and settles to a thin mocha head, fades to razor thin ring. Carbonation is low, but not unusual for the style.

Definite bourbon barrel presence on the nose here. Oak, vanilla, whiskey, ice cream sandwich. Quite sweet smelling. Maybe a touch of alcohol, but very well hidden.

Wonderful flavor. It's like melted vanilla and chocolate ice cream lightly blended with sweet bourbon. Roasty malt in the background. Very well balanced and consistent throughout. Pleasant lingering finish.

I really like the feel of the beer as well. The carbonation is on the lower side, but it doesn't get too cloying and the alcohol is buried nicely. Quite drinkable.

This is the first version of this beer that I've tried. Looking forward to getting more variations of Eclipse in the future.

brotherloco, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of maximum12
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Once again, many thanks to the folks at FiftyFifty for allowing us out-of-staters to purchase some of their fine brews.

Although I have a quibble: third time in a row, while engaged in a titantic struggle with 3" of wax, I've gouged myself hard enough to draw blood. Yikes! Definitely a hazard to health & hearth to get one of these bad-boys open. Bottle #232, popped open in a depressing March downpour that's due to turn to snow within a few hours. Spring in Minnesota!

Pours coal-dust black, split into two Darkness snifters for the wife & I. Smell is pure, heart-stopping perfection; a burst puffs outwards when I bludgeon wax & cap into submission, & I know immediately that this is going to be epic. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, malts. Beautiful.

Evan Williams Eclipse is close to the perfect crime against beer & barrels. High-end bourbon, flawless Noka chocolates, vanilla tended by a thousand paradise-bound virgins, wild oakiness, & tons of other things going on underneath, subtle antics my tongue can't even comprehend. After the taste charge, a warm, almost harsh wave of alcohol & Evan washes the subtleties away. The effect is almost like a smoothed-out, well-rounded bourbon, thought the overall taste is nothing like that. Perhaps I have ceased making sense.

Well, hell, this is one excellent beer. The only better in the series thus far was the '09 Heaven Hill, which sidled up hard to perfection. This one isn't far off either. Amazing beer; sad to only have one more. I'd like to offer FiftyFifty brewing space in my basement if they ever need an outpost in Minnesota.

maximum12, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.68/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black wax. Bottle #1237, 2010 vintage. Thanks to DankTheTank for this. Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Black color. I could only muster about a finger of creamy light brown head that falls quickly and leaves a small ring of lacing.

4.0 S: The bourbon and barrel are the strongest components of the nose. Leather and melon bourbon, good amount of vanilla, and oak to a lesser extent. The underlying stout doesn't contribute enough to match up with the bourbon notes, but I can still pick some stuff out. Roasted barley, molasses, caramel and toffee to a lighter extent, and some milk chocolate. I'd rather have the stout kick the bourbon's ass, but it's still pretty good.

3.5 T: The taste unfortunately follows the nose. I really love bourbon barrel stouts, but the best kind take a killer stout and complement it with a bourbon touch. In this one, the bourbon is the headliner and the stout is just the opening act. Bourbon components are leather, lots of vanilla, raisin and fig, melon, peat, and just a touch boozy. Stout contributes roasted barley, milk chocolate, molasses, and a touch of caramel. Not as robust as I'd prefer.

3.5 M: Medium body, a bit thin for my liking. Carbonation is a bit lower than I prefer, but is alright overall. Could be creamier, but is pretty smooth. Warming on finish, but not hot.

4.0 D: This is a bourbon drinker's beer. The stout isn't all that impressive, but the barrel aging is well done. I'd be curious to taste what the stout is like without the bourbon influence. Anyway, there isn't a hint of astringency from the barrel. Easy drinking though. It's beers like these that make me want to appreciate bourbon more, but at the end of the day, I want a thick and rich stout and in that regard, this one doesn't pull through.

DavoleBomb, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of CrellMoset
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. black wax topped bottle from Southbay Drugs. Poured in to a 22 oz. snifter. A friend is transcribing my dictation of this review as I lay in bed, too lazy to type.

Appearance: A black waxed bottle for a black, waxy beer. This one pours a dark brownie-hued body, capped by half a finger of slightly less brownie-hued head. Retention is lacking, but not atrocious, fading into a thin crisp lace and some breaths of dusting on the surface. Minimal carbonation is visible around the outside of the snifter.

Aroma: Fudge and barrel notes dominate the nose, mingling with lighter and darker malts. Cocoa is strong, sweet but authentic, and does a lot to cover up much of the harsh spirit qualities. Cherries, dark fruits, and coconut mingle with green oak on top of the fudge foundation, with toast and relatively authentic coffee beneath. Vanilla is also present, mingling with spiciness and a kiss of char beneath a surprisingly faint (at least, relatively) dash of bourbon.

Taste: Less sweet than one would expect from the nose, though cocoa is still the dominant note here it is more of a bittersweet presence the bitterness of which is augmented by astringencies in the malt base. They're not harsh, but definitely present though they play well off of the bourbon. Dark fruits contribute a measure of sweetness as well, though on the whole the beer is fairly balanced with the malts providing a neutral palette. Barrel characteristics are less noticeable here than in the nose, though some vanilla does emerge as it warms as does some leathery coconut. Similar to the nose, the bourbon is very mature- definitely spicy, only faintly warming, and even a touch sweet. Showcases most of the elements of an excellent bourbon barrel imperial stout.

Mouthfeel: First, the bad: it is thin, with minimal carbonation. Either of those things on their own would have been a huge problem, but together, they are only a problem worthy of a one point reduction, as the beer is neither cloying nor erratic. Second, the good: the amount of attenuation results in a pretty good thickness that works well with the flavor profile itself neither too sweet nor too dry.

Drinkability: Not the most drinkable imperial stout I have ever had, nor the most drinkable bourbon barrel aged imperial stout I have ever had. There are some definite astringencies present, the retention and lacing leave plenty to be desired, the mouth is a little thin, and the astringency is distracting. The ABV is not outrageous but should be respected-I know that I definitely shouldn't have started it at 11:30 at night. All in all, an enjoyable beer that I imagine fifty/fifty will only perfect over the coming years, though at the present I think it is possibly slightly overrated.

CrellMoset, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of alcstradamus
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a finger of head that dies down to a thin layer of bubbles.

Aroma is rich toffee sweetness, toasted malt, marshmallow, oak, booze, and some floral character. Huge aroma.

The flavor is roasted malt and burnt toast up front, with a dry oaky finish. Lots of bitter dark chocolate. The oakiness and booze are a bit astringent.

The body is fuller than medium but not quite what I would call creamy. Low carbonation which I prefer in a stout.

Overall this beer was pretty nice, but the flavor didn't live up to the fine aroma. Just a bit too harsh to get to that "next level." Still, I definitely recommend it to lovers of barrel aged stouts.

alcstradamus, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lunch opened this bottle recently. Beer poured into a Darkness snifter (gifted to me by Lunch). Beer is black with a tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, low carbonation, looks like a beer.

Aroma is sweet with a mild liquorness about it. Very great. Some roast, mostly malt. Smells good.

Beer is medium in body and overall sweet. The first thing I taste is the sweetness followed by a nice booziness without the heat. This beer finishes adequately heavy as to not dry out the bitterness at the end. It is very drinkable and a pleasure. Thanks Lunch.

drabmuh, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Alex. Drank the 200 and 300 day versions side-by-side, rating the 200 day with some notes on the 300 day as well.

A - Black bodied beer that browns on the edges with a small brown head. Head didn't stick around for very long and left a little bit of lace on the sides.

S - Chocolate, bourbon, roasted malts, sweet molasses, on the nose. Pretty nicely balanced with roasted qualities and a bit of wood.

T - Taste is quite nice. Very smooth beer highlighted with roasted characteristics and baking cocoa as the primary sweetness. Molasses taste is present, but a secondary sweetness. The 300 day is a lot harsher oak and wood flavor, not as sweet, and I don't like it nearly as well.

M - Smooth, low carbonation, fairly full bodied.

D - A wonderful drinking stout that is quite good. I preferred the 200 day version strongly to the 300, but it wasn't a consensus among the tasters.

AgentZero, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of kruthar
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Here we go. First beer of our epic tasting. Oregon edition.

Stouts are stouts this is a pretty beautiful looking bevrage but it is really the similiar image of every other stout. But the smell...heavy bourban very sweet.

The taste desnt reveal much more then the smell HOLY BOURBON. I must say there isn't much more body to this brew then the bourban and some maltiness.

The mouthfeel is still surprisingly good for being so hot.

The drinkability though depends on the bourbon tlerance of the drinker.

kruthar, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of jrallen34
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

300 day version thanks to Alex, consumed simultaneously with 200 day bottle version, drank from a Cigar City snifter... Looks basically like the regular version, black body with a medium tan head, nice ring with some lacing... The lovely nose on the 200 is totally destroyed by the 50% time increase in the barrel. Tons of oak, too much bourbon, but do get some nice smoke notes. You can tell instantly which beer is which, maybe in time this would be ok, maybe... In a reversal, I like the taste of the 300 better than the 200. Its better balanced with the bourbon showing off perfectly, then some great oak, chocolate and vanilla.

This is another solid beer, I like them almost equally just in different ways. I would LOVE to blend the 200 and 300, might create an almost perfect ba stout. Keep up the excellent work, Todd.

jrallen34, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

200-day version thanks to largadeer. Sampled side-by-side with the 300-day edition. Served in a Dark Lord Day taster.

A - A hard pour rouses a half-finger of tan foam that settles to a thin ring, wispy film, and a few spots of lace. Slightly more carbonation than the 300-day version. They're both pretty similar, with a black body that displays a hint of brown at the fringes.

S - A delightful blend of bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate truffles and cake, molasses, and roastiness. There's better balance and integration in the 200-day version, and the initial alcohol heat I noticed a few months ago has largely dissipated.

T - The taste delta between 200 and 300 day versions is much smaller than the chasm between the aromas. A rich mix of chocolate, fudge, vanilla, and caramel that is balanced by a bit of roasty bitterness, oak, and a touch of smoke.

M - Both versions have very low carbonation and are silky-smooth, with a dry tannic finish and a bit of warmth.

D - I kept coming back to both versions throughout the evening, and we had no problems finishing the aggregate 40oz or so. I prefer the standard bottled release, although it was a real treat to do an a/b and see what three additional months in the barrel did for this beer. An excellent barrel-aged imperial stout.

Thanks Chris!

MasterSki, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of EgadBananas
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
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!

EgadBananas, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2/23/2011

"300 day" Evan Williams Eclipse, draft-only, aged for an additional couple of months in barrels beyond the bottled version. Poured from the growler into a snifter.

A: Near black and nebulous with a creamy light brown head. When held to light and carefully examined, the beer is a very dark shade of brown rather than pure black. Scattered lacing is left behind.

S: A great mixture of caramel and dark chocolate, with notes of brown sugar cookie dough and a strong yet well integrated bourbon profile. Vanilla billows from the glass when I venture near it. Oak provides complexity. This is much different from the bottled Evan Williams I had, granted that wasn't the 300 Day version. It's much smoother and mellower, with more positive barrel notes. Malt is faintly roasted. No coffee is evident. The amount of caramel is worth nothing again because it is quite powerful and complements the dark chocolate wonderfully. No booze is evident in the nose.

T: The flavor is just as good as the aroma. Smooth and mellow, with light oak and tannins. Though I detected no coffee in the aroma, the taste does display a little. The caramel, chocolate, and bourbon interplay is excellent. Brown sugar and vanilla maintain a firm presence throughout. Alcohol is tame in the flavor. I get a little black licorice. The finish is smooth and mellow with a slight increase in sweetness and roasted malt, and noticeable oak.

M: Full body with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth and there's a good deal of warming in the finish.

Overall: The best experience I've had with the 2010 batches of Eclipse. This is really good stuff.

HopHead84, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked one of these up because I always hear about them and I have never gotten my hands on one since I've been a BA.

Pours a deep black with a one finger tan head. Dissipated to a super thin film with OK lacing.

Aroma I think is the best part. Lots of dark fruits and toasted sugars and caramel. Smells awesome.

Taste is awesome but not the best stout I've had. Very roasted but with a nice caramel malt that has some good dark fruit flavor. A slight bit of bourbon and oak. As it warms up the roast gets a little more harsh and the booz becomes a little more apparent. To me it seems to be lacking something in flavor that other barrel aged stouts have.

Mouthfeel is heavy and I wouldn't want to drink a whole 22oz by myeself.

Overall a solid BA Stout but there are some better ones for sure. I would probably get it again but $22 for the one bottle when beers like Abyss and Parabola are considerably cheaper I think I will have to pass.

PeprSprYoFace, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of mdfb79
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 02/20/11 notes. Shared by Desaparecido; thanks Ed! 2010 vintage, bottle 1434. Tried side by side with the 2010 vintage of Four Roses.

a - Pours a jet black color with one inch of thick tan head and light carbonation evident. Looks exactly the same as the Four Roses version, and looks amazing.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, alcohol, roasted malts, chocolate, light coffee, and light caramel malts. I thought the EW version had a lot more alcohol in the smell than the 4 Roses version; I preferred 4 Roses here.

t - Taste is amazing. Tastes of sweet dark fruits, bourbon, oak, roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, and light caramel. I found the taste a lot better than the 4 Roses version.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation, thick and smooth. Very nice and not too hot.

d - Overall I thought this was an amazing stout. It looked and had the same mouthfeel as the Four Roses version, and while I enjoyed the smell of the Four Roses better, I thought the taste of this one got the edge. Either way, both are great stouts that I would love to try again.

mdfb79, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of rand
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From bomber with wax-dipped cap to oversized wine glass

Note: Picked this up from Best Damn Beer Shop downtown SD, had no idea there were different barrel-aged varieties. I'm assuming the wax differentiates.

A: Jet black on the pour, dense and oily in appearance. A small caramel-colored head forms, maybe an inch thick, which leaves little islands of lacing as I gently swirl the glass.

S: Notes of bourbon up front, with coffee, chocolate and licorice right behind. The bourbon notes carry a spicy floral tone suggesting hibiscus. Alcohol is barely noticeable.

T: Boozy bourbon is first noticed, but quickly balanced by notes of chocolate and licorice. Sweet, but just enough to offset the punchy bourbon notes. Alcohol is a bit more noticed than in the nose but still well masked. Honey bread and toffee carry into the finish, leaving a sweet and creamy aftertaste.

M: Oily, rich and chewy. As full-bodied an imperial stout as I can remember.

D: I would argue that bourbon barrel-aged brews are categorically hard to drink, but this one is unique. I was skeptical when I read this was aged in Evan Williams barrels - most examples of this style just don't work. But this is truly an exception. Everything is nicely balanced - alcohol and bourbon flavors are distinct but far from overwhelming, leaving plenty of room on the palate for the characteristic flavors of an imperial stout.

rand, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of nataku00
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap during an SF beer week FiftyFifty event, poured into a tulip glass. Beautiful pour by the bartender, dark brown bordering on black beer with a finger and a half of dark mocha colored frothy head. Some lighter browns on the edge of the glass when held up to the light so the beer isn't completely dark. Head dissipates to about half a finger and maintains it, leaving lots of nice brown lacing on the glass with some swirling. Carbonation is definitely visible at the edge of the glass, and seems fairly active.

Nose leaves my mouth watering, dark roasted malts, roasted coffee, boozy dried dark fruits like raisins and figs, vanilla, dark caramel, and feint hints of oak. Very complex and ample aroma.

Taste doesn't disappoint, following the complexity of the nose, but tempered by a distinct bourbon component which makes the beer drink a little hot. Delicious, but this almost drinks like a spirit.

Light medium bodied beer is a bit of a surprise for a barrel aged imperial stout. Well carbonated with small gentle bubbles that help a lot to bump up the mouthfeel toward creaminess. The Evan Williams bourbon barrels added a lot more of the bourbon character when compared to the 2010 Four Roses and Heaven's Hill version of the Eclipse, and it makes it of warming and boozy beer. However, this makes this a great candidate for cellaring.

nataku00, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"300 day" Evan Williams Eclipse, draft-only, aged for an additional couple of months in barrels beyond the bottled version.

Opaque black body topped by a lasting reverse-cascading tan head. The head is surprisingly steadfast, and leaves patches of lacing behind.

This beer really benefits from warmer temperatures. The nose is pretty decadent, chocolate and bourbon forward. Caramel candy and vanilla come out as it reaches room temperature, along with a milder note of licorice. The bourbon character isn't as refined as the Pappy Van Winkle or Elijah Craig batches of Eclipse, but it still lends a wonderful richness to the beer. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen; additional time in the barrels seems to have tamed this beer quite a bit.

The palate has more licorice and coffee character than the nose, which serves to balance the sweeter notes of bourbon, caramel, chocolate and vanilla. There's a little more alcohol than the nose implies, but it's far from harsh. The body is medium-full, typical of the Eclipse series, and the finish is fairly dry, leaving lingering flavors or coffee and oak.

Overall, this is quite different than the bottles. There's more bourbon flavor, but less noticeable alcohol. There's a lot of variation with bottles of 2010 Evan Williams Eclipse, and I'd say that this blend is on par with the better bottles of that beer.

largadeer, Feb 19, 2011
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 510 ratings.