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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.

511 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 511
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: 511 | Reviews: 175 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of lionchow
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank it at FiftyFifty event at the Bloodhound in SF. Not actually sure if it was on tap or from a bottle. Also enjoyed it along side a pour of Evan Williams single barrel.

Pitch black. Almost no head.

Aroma was lightly roasted and chocolately.

Flavor was sweet, but not overly sweet, primarily of milk chocolate, with a mild roasted character. Little to no bittnerness. Nice balance of oak and bourbon character with the sweet chocolate gives it depth and roundness.

Low carbonation.

Overall very drinkable and enjoyable. Personally its how I like a stout.

lionchow, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of Sean9689
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

200-day bottle & 300-day growler drank side-by-side. Thanks goes to Alex for providing both versions and an added thanks to lardodeer for hooking it up...you the man, Chris. I'm going to review the 200-day and add additional comments for the 300-day.

A - Pours black, smallish tan-colored head which eventually reduces down to some very spotty lacing, some whisps, and bubbles here and there. Mostly though, just the black body of the beer remains after the initial pour.

S - Sweet milk chocolate, nice woody/oak, ever-so-slight bitter chocolate, nice dose of roast, no real noticeable alcohol detection. The 300-day had larger barrel notes, while the 200-day seemed more balanced and smooth. (4.5 for 200, 4 for 300)

T - Very similar to the nose. Chocolate, oak, burnt sugars, roast, slight alcohol (not too little, not too much). The 300-day has too much barrel/oak, which interfere's with the other wonderful things going on with this beer. (4.5 for 200, 4 for 300).

M - Full, rich and smooth, viscous, very little carbonation, creamy finish.

D - It was awesome to try both versions side-by-side and I really enjoyed the differences. Seems they removed the bottle version at just the right time, 200 days. While I enjoyed the 300-day, it wasn't as enjoyable as the 200-day. Another amazing variation brewed by Mr. Todd Ashman...your stuff is amazing!

Sean9689, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of stakem
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Tripphop for sharing! Bottle # 848 black wax, 2010 bottle.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a dark brown color with clarity around the edges and through the body when held to the light. A brown frothy cap of foam forms and recedes hanging around the edges of the glass.

The smells of this brew includes sweet vanilla tones from barrel aging along with coconut and chocolate malt. Spicy alcohol is evident that comes across a little tangy. Everything about the way this beer smells is amazing and pleasant. If I was to brew a stout and barrel age it, this is exactly how I would want it to smell. The oaked character in this brew is brilliant. The vanilla seemingly makes the chocolate scent even better.

The taste of this brew includes toasty coconut and a creamy vanilla smoothness. Pleasant accented alcohol that increases with a fusel taste as it warms. The whiskey imparts a light twang to the alcohol character that is enjoyable. The roast of the grain imparts quite a smooth chocolate flavor to this brew and never really turns to bitterness. It maintains a smoothness and high drinkability. While the alcohol is noticeable, it is exceptionally smooth and I never once for a minute would have guessed it was more than 9%.

This is a medium bodied brew, silky smooth feel and is modestly carbonated. To say that this brew is "super drinkable" is a bit of an understatement. It is exceptional and absolutely worth the hype. Having a chance to partake in this was very bitter sweet, I want a chance to try more of this in the worst way.

stakem, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of SpdKilz
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Evan Williams, bottle 2088. Served at room temperature in my Russian River tulip, in memory and honor of my Grandpa Kacmar who passed away this morning. Always a fighter, he will be missed dearly by everyone. Rest in peace Grandpa.

Appearance - Pours an utter evil viscosity, midnight in color, a slight ring of white, slight tan bubbles that dissipate quickly leaving spotty, yet quite attractive lacing.

Smell - Honestly, it reminds me of a combination of the GI BCS series. Wonderful bourbon, oak, vanilla, smoky notes intermixed with burnt cocoa, molasses, and brown sugar.

Taste - Well damn. I made my grandfather take a sip of the BCBVS and BCBCS over Christmas, and really wish he could have tried this. The first thing I notice, before the tastes settle in, is just how incredibly SMOOTH this is (I will delve into this a bit later in the appropriate category). The flavor is damn similar to the nose...but holy cow the flavors just meld so utterly perfect. The smoke is somewhat dominate in the fact it is there through the entire sip. The bourbon and sweet molasses and brown sugar are second in command, followed by absolutely smooth vanilla and oaky notes. Wow.

Mouthfeel - SO creamy, smooth, lower carbonation. This feels damn good.

Drinkability - Obviously, this is a slow sipper, but I get no alcohol flavor nor warmth. This is a world class beer, and being the "2010" version versus some of the 2009 versions I have, I can't even imagine how great those will taste. What a perfect beer to have tonight in memory. Cheers to all!

SpdKilz, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured jet black with a nice dirty white cap and plenty of bubbles

S: Lighter bourbon than I expected but not bad because it let the chocolate, oak and toasted malt come through

T: Wow. Has a very smooth balanced feel and flavor. Not one flavor kills or competes. The chocolate, lighter whsikey, oak notes, roasted malt, coffee, some liquorice notes too

M: Nice feel, big body, tasty. The booze is pretty tame and allows this beer to shine on feel and flavor

D: Very high, sooo easy to drink!

barleywinefiend, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of yourefragile
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz 2010 black wax bottle #1372. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a mildly thin for the style mocha black with a short lived creamy tan head. Short retention and minimal lacing, the weakest part of the beer.

Aroma packs an immediate bourbon punch and is balanced by rich vanilla and milk chocolate. Molasses, raisins, brown sugar and caramel with very little roast, burnt or hop aromas. Non-existent alcohol and the sweetness is very pleasant and smooth.

Flavor is similarly smooth and balanced with surprisingly more of a milk chocolate, vanilla and molasses presence than in the nose. Bourbon is still present, particularly in the finish, but never harsh. Warming throughout, yet the balance between the barrel and base beer is remarkable.

Mouthfeel is slightly thinner than hoped for, medium thick with light carbonation; slightly milky in character. I don't feel like this detracts from my enjoyment of the beer, but for the style would have expected something a little more robust.

I'll revisit this review as I try the other 2010 versions, but this new treatment is living up to my expectations from last years.

yourefragile, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to largadeer for sharing a bottle of this at the post RS tasting. 2010 bottle pored into a taster glass.

A - Pours pitch black with a small off white head leaving light lacing down the glass.

S - Oak, bourbon, bittersweet chocolate, and some alcohol heat dominate this one. A bit of caramel sweetness mixes well with the dark roasted malt core.

T - Quite similar to the nose but much more balanced. Plenty of oak and bourbon from the barrel mix well with the chocolate, caramel, alcohol, and dark roasted malt from the base beer. Very nice stuff.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderately low carbonation. A bit hot but still a pretty good feel none the less. Finish is a bit hot with some lingering dark roast.

D - Pretty high. I really enjoyed this one. I have been pretty impressed with all the barrel aged stouts I have tried form fifty fifty to date. I hope I get to try the other ones in the future.

orangesol, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of daveytheformer
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 batch / bottle #115
Poured from a 22 into a snifter.

Appears black with some brownish purple that shines through held up to the light. A nice thin head that fades off pretty quickly.

Smells boozy with some chocolate and vanilla in there as well. As it warms smells even more just like bourbon.

Tastes like roasted malts and sweet chocolate. The bourbon really shines through as well with a light oak presence.

Mouthfeel is smooth creamy sweet with some alcohol heat.

Overall very drinkable. A pretty full bodied beer with a strong bourbon taste that blend perfectly with the beer. I would drink as much of this as I could get my hands on or afford.

daveytheformer, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of sisuspeed
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beddachedda for the bottle! Split with sleepydave and abuliarose.

#476, black wax

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass. Pitch black body with a thin film of tan head. Leaves some good lacing behind.

Chocolate cake, bourbon, vanilla, oak and molasses rise up from a few swirls of the glass. Sweet, rich and bourbony. Honey soaked oak and booze. The nose does a great job of showcasing the bourbon barrels. Decadent.

Dark chocolate and sweet honey bourbon on the tongue. Well roasted malts and woody oak. Devil's food chocolate cake. Heather and honey. Well done.

Mouthfeel is smooth and almost creamy. Carbonation is a bit light, but still pretty good. The body is on the light side for an imperial stout and really the only complaint I have with this beer. It would be nice to see it just a tad thicker.

Quite drinkable for a 9.5% barrel aged stout. Boozy, but it goes down nicely. I don't know if I would even age this any longer if I had another bottle. I'm sure it can go the distance, but its drinking really well right now. Great mixture of stout and bourbon. If FiftyFifty could bump up the body a little bit this would be one of the best bourbon stouts I've ever had.

sisuspeed, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of gford217
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz black wax-topped bottle.

This one pours the same color as the other Eclipses which is not quite pitch black and has a small one-inch beige head that recedes quickly to a small collar with spotty lacing.

Aroma is wonderful and heavy on the bourbon, especially vs. the other versions. But it's not overpowering - nice vanilla, oak and bourbon aroma up front. There is plenty of of dark roasted malts, chocolate, and tobacco.

The taste is complex and after the "slight disappointment" of the 4 Roses I had last night, this brings back the Eclipses that I enjoyed so much from 08 and 09. There is more burn than the HH but it's well integrated with the bourbon melding with the roasted malts and cocoa.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth, not the thickest or fullest body, but silky.

This is up there with the HH for me. It's exceptionally drinkable for an impy stout with tons of complexity and flavor without being overpowering. Interestingly, the bourbon is heavy but doesn't limit the drinkability at all. Fantastic.

gford217, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of younger35
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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!

younger35, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of kfsv034
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours Black with light brown edges and minimal head that disappears to almost no head

S - Whiskey, vanilla, toffee. The alcohol really comes through.

T - Hot, when it warms up its really hot. Vanilla, carmel really good. some sweet molasses or honey.

M - Medium Bodied

D - Good, shared this with 5 others wish I had more.

kfsv034, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours black with a finger of milk chocolate head, good lacing. smell is chocolate, bourbon, some dark fruit, light oak, with a hint of vanilla. taste is more of the nose, good bourbon character, molasses, oak, dark fruits, and a light roasted finish. a little thin, but good carbonation and very easy to drink. in my opinion this was much better than the HH version.

xpimptastikx, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of gregshead
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes on 1/10/11:

A: Pours jet black with a very thin layer of khaki colored head.

S: Holy cow. A beautiful bourbon smell wafts into my nose, I love that smell. Vanilla and oak are also present too.

T: My taste buds just died and went to beer heaven. Bourbon and oak taste dominate but in a way that makes you want to drink more. The roasted malts are there but definitely play second fiddle to the bourbon and oak.

M: It is very creamy and smooth. Out of this world.

D: This is the first beer I've given a perfect score to. I drank the 22oz by myself and felt a little guilty for not sharing. I wish I had another one.

gregshead, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of Gobzilla
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good lookin out largadeer for cracking this open on the post RS tasting

Poured a dark as night black in color with a tight thin head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was very nice consisting of lots of chocolate but the bourbon was definitely there but add some sweet vanilla as well. I was able to detect mild coffee, oak, and some roastiness from the malts. The chocolate flavor really dominated the palate but had vanilla, oaky, slight coffee accents with bourbon character adding complexity that was not overbearing. For sure it had lots of roastiness and had a touch of cherries. The brew was full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a chocolatey, sweet, bourbon, roasty, and creamy finish. This brew was very delicious and definitely lives up to the hype. It was a sipper faux show but was glad to try it.

Gobzilla, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Snowed in with nothing to do but enjoy all the goodies I have saved. I decided to open this one last night after dinner to hang around for a while and play wii. Served into a snifter.

The pour was black as night with a lovely tan head of about an inch and a half that faded down to nice lacing that thoroughly coated the sides of the glass for the entire session. Deep smoked notes hit me first, rum, vanilla, hints of oak and a deep burnt cocoa fill the air. Immense aroma and flavor as each sip coats the palate with a peat and chocolate soaked in bourbon flavor. Really clean with molasses, vanilla and brown sugar really just come jumping out at you. Long slow finish leaves the smoothness just right on the palate.

For my opening into the 2010 series I am very impressed. A show stopped for sure. Green wax here I come.

mikesgroove, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of thagr81us
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

thagr81us, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of Bierguy5
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, 9.5% abv. Pours pure black with a nice looking beige head. Good head retention, with a modest amount of lace.

Great nose. Bourbon, oak, roasted malts. Some dark fruit, cocoa and some dark chocolate.

Roasty, with a great amount of chocolate. Bourbon comes in very nicely, with some oak notes. Some dark fruits are noted as well, but chocolate dominates.

Medium to full body, with a great creamy feel. Alcohol is present, but not overbearing. Very well made.

Bierguy5, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of mcallister
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pitch black in color with very little head and less splotchy lace.

Milk chocolate, cocoa, black fruits, vanilla, mollasses, hints of bourbon, slight oaky notes.

Very nice, easy drinking, with wood tannins and hints of hop bitterness on the finish. Very chocolatey with loads of dark fruits, plum, raisin, blackberry. Than you take notice of the thick vanilla, bitter cocoa, bourbon, toasted oak and earthy notes. Creamy on the palate and lighter in body than say a Dark Lord which I think is a very good thing and helps drinkability.

mcallister, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of craytonic
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 2010 release party bottling. Shared with Habmike, Kkipple, SpencerDB, RobOrb and Advent. Many thanks to a kind mule.

Appearance: Looks basically like the rest of the 50/50 barrel aged lineup; small head, some lacing, dark pour with some mahogany brown edges.

Smell: Nice soft smooth bourbon with molasses, fudge, dark chocolate, vanilla and some espresso

Taste: Great bourbon element to this one, I am not an Evan Williams fan either. Behind the bourbon I found caramel, toffee, chocolate fudge, honey and brown sugar. Perhaps some sweet tobacco juice as well. There can't be much to the base beer on these as the bourbon barrels really take the beer over completely. Very rich flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy; perhaps a bit thin like the rest of the 50/50 lineup, my only real complaint about the ones I liked

Drinkability: So good, I'll need to get a few more of these.

We did a big side-by-side and I would rate them in this order: Pappy 50/50; Evan Williams 50/50; Elijah Craig 50/50; 4 Roses 50/50; Heaven Hill 50/50 (noticeably worse than the rest); Brandy 50/50 (Brandy being a drain pour). It was fun to try them side-by-side, each is incredibly distinct and there are certainly some winners and some losers.

craytonic, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of Gfunk720
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Gfunk720, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of Arbitrator
3.28/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3


I've had ~10 bottles of this version over the past year, and each one has been different. Unfortunately, the vast majority have been mediocre and a couple were outright bad. That's expected, because FiftyFifty hires a mobile bottler of questionable quality, and that results in bottle variation. Still -- while I understand it, I can't really forgive it at $25 a bottle. They've moved the bottling in-house for the 2011 batch, which is good.

But at the time of this writing, I'm frustrated by the trends in the bottles I've had. I'm averaging them in the score; the ones I've had would range between a D+ and an A-, so there's a big swing. Since more of them have been closer to the lower end of the spectrum, that brings this review down.

A good bottle is described in the text below. The bad ones have more muddled flavors with an overly tannic finish and a watery body. As much as I enjoy Eclipse, I can't give 50/50 a pass here. As a whole I am very disappointed by the 2010 Eclipses.


Full comments:

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2010 vintage. Note: the Eclipse series greatly benefits from being served at 62 F or so.

A: Pours a dark brown that appears translucent in smaller quantities. It has a moderate tan head; retention is decent for an imperial stout, and it leaves a few trails of lace down the sides of the glass. As always, the weakest part of the beer is here.

S: After trying some single-barrel Evan Williams 1997 recently and noticing the same flavors in Perfect Storm, I'm picking up some common themes here. A toasted pecan note (this is almost the signature EW smell to me now), dark chocolate, caramel, spices, and orange. The spiced-orange-caramel effect is reminiscent of a dark, organic honey.

T: This leads with vanilla and dark chocolate, thought there is a slight milk sweetness to it. Spiced caramel is strong. A chocolate-orange flavor near the finish is reminiscent of holiday candy. Roast isn't particularly notable in the flavor, but there is a mild presence of it in the background that offsets the sweeter elements. I'd credit the balance more to tannins, which stand with a pepper bite in the finish. The aftertaste is mostly clean, though it leaves retronasal hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, and spice (almost ginger-like).

M: While this is not viscous, it's full-bodied in flavor. The beer doesn't finish dry, but tannins emerge and give it an astringent feel. There is also a mild heat; the spices, tannins, and heat together make the beer harsher than I prefer. I think this aspect will improve with age. I like my beers silky-smooth, and I know from experience that Eclipses can do this. There's nothing particularly wrong here, but I think this mouthfeel would better appeal to spirits drinkers (I am not one).

D: Definitely a solid beer. The tap version I had at the brewery yesterday was a bit lacking in complexity, though it was more chocolatey and less hot. This bottle goes the other way. Solid stuff so far. I think the 09s were better upon release, so this is a small disappointment, but I'll see how the remaining iterations of the '10 are.

I'm also aware that this beer is going to vary a lot. Apparently two bottles opened last night displayed remarkably different characteristics. I may tweak it (averaging) as further bottles come up.

Arbitrator, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of tjfinkle
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2903 Poured into a tulip. I picked up this bottle at the brewery during a ski trip to Tahoe. Inadvertently left the bottle outside overnight when the temp got down to -10 or so. I was very relieved that the bottle still was carbonated and was just as tasty as the non frozen bottles that I had.

The pour was a very dark brown/black with some slight tan head that settled into a nice lacing around the edge of the glass. The smell is a nice delicious boozy woody smell with some chocolate and nice figgy/pruney dark fruit smells. The taste is boozy similar to the smell, but not overpowering like some oak aged beers I have had in the past. Some nice chocolaty notes and again the dark fruits. The aftertaste is a very smooth soft roasty malty flavor that lingers for a while.

The mouthfeel of this beer is also quite nice. Decent amount of carbonation for this style although not quite as thick as I could have hoped. Very good drink, definitely a bit on the pricey side, but totally worth it for a treat every once in a while.

tjfinkle, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of billshmeinke
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

A: pitch black with some brown highlights at the edges, thin brown head dies to a ring around the edge of the glass bits of lacing left behind

S: chocolate, honey, oak, maple, caramel, coconut, marshmellows, rich dark fruits and notes of fine American whiskey. This beer like the rest of the eclipse series shows off the bourbon beautifully.

T: beautiful dark fruits like raspberry and cherry much like the fruit characteristics of a good bourbon, vanilla a touch of oak, caramel marshmellow and hints of coconut. The dark fruits are not as prominent as the other flavours which is good in my books. Wonderful well integrated notes of bourbon as well.

M: full bodied and a bit chewy but not as heavy as similar barrel aged stouts low carbonation with little heat but warming in the belly sweet with a touch of bitterness perfectly balanced and increeedibly smooth

D: I could drink this all night such a perfect beer. The Eclipse series rules!!!

billshmeinke, Jan 07, 2011
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 511 ratings.