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

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon

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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
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber to mini tulip
2010 Vintage, Evan Williams barrel, black wax
Bottle number is indistinguishable
Sampled 29JUN12

Many thanks to Grant for the trade quite some time ago.

[A] Less than a half finger of medium dark brown head, bubbly, with short retention. A paper-thin collar remains for now, but seems likely to disappear. Pitch black body with almost no transparency. Even at the thinnest points, only a thin layer of dark amber-brown can be seen. Beaded strands of lace line the glass after each tilt but quickly slide back down to the surface.

[S] Big bourbon strikes first – very clean. The honey component sets in next, along with a very dark, semi bitter chocolate and a rich rendered caramel. Earthy hops. Light soil. Mild roast.

[T] Purely an extension on the nose. Bourbon and barrel up front. Honey and dark sugars creep back in at the end and leave lingering sweet notes for the final impression – with a little bit of bourbon to bring about a pleasant warming sensation.

[M] Semi-thick front palate which gains a substantial amount of body from mid-palate on. Very creamy towards the end of the palate. Gently tingling carbonation throughout. The mouthfeel and nose are my favorite aspects of the brew. The flavor lingers long but is not cloying at all.

[O] This is one fantastic beer. Nearly a perfect ‘5’ in at least two areas…..but just shy. Two years ago, my score would have been significantly higher – and it’s pretty high as is.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.07/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Gushue3 for sharing this. 22oz. bottle served in a snifter. Pours one shade shy of black with no head. One arc-like swath of lacing coats the glass during the tasting. Nose is exquisite - bourbon, malt, brown sugar, booze and a trace of soy sauce. Taste consistent with nose; however, the flavor profile comes off a bit thin. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body - somewhat thin for a barrel-aged beer. Carbonation is almost still. Overall, an easy drinking example of the style, but a bit too subdued in my opinion.

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Photo of John_M
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Dyan for obtaining this beer for me.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with pretty good head retention and considerable lacing. Right off the bat, I have to say this beer has the look of a beer that has seen some pretty serious barrel aging. The nos is quite impressive and is about what I expected from this beer, as I get considerable bourbon, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate and some light licorice. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this moderately sweet stout, with the chocolate, vanilla and bourbon taking center stage. The beer is a bit boozy and sweet, but I expected that, and is not really something I mind too much in an RIS. Also, the touch of licorice in the finish helps to tame the sweetness somewhat, and enhances this beer's drinkability. Mouthfeel is soft, smooth and fairly full, in what comes across as a low carbonation beer. The beer is not at all heavy or tiring on the palate, despite the noticeable bourbon and alcohol. The finish is long and very, very smooth in this beer, and this is undeniably a very tasty beer.

Hard to imagine drinking a whole lot of this, but nevertheless, this is pretty impressive.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.09/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz black waxed bottle into a snifter - 2010 vintage #1912

A: Pours a deep dark brown with a small brown head that fade to a ring leaving very little lacing.

S: The nose reveals huge barrel notes like vanilla, molasses, and a touch of charred oak along with the chocolate and earthy honey from the base beer.

T: The taste is a bit less impressive than the nose but still good. Nice flavors of vanilla, molasses, chocolate and a touch of honey. Not as complex or intense as the EC 12 from 2009.

M: Feel is a little thin for the style but relatively creamy.

O: One of the better Eclipse beers I've had but not the top by far. The taste falls a bit short of excellent though. Could be the age...

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Photo of CooperEllis
4.06/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2461 from 2010. Duck Rabbit snifter.

My god, this is straight 100% alcohol in the nose. Like, way way too much booze. Still, it's delightful booze so no harm done.

That said, the flavor here is spot on, started it from the cellar temp (a touch north of 60 at the moment). There is something missing from the mouthfeel, a cleanness or a crispness or full creamy body. One of these has to be there to round this out.

Malt, chocolate-cherry, molasses cookies, woood.

This is my fourth different 50/50 this month ('11 Rittenhouse, '11 EC 18/20 and '09 EC) and this holds it's own with all of them. The '09 EC is still my favorite, and the mouthfeel on the '11 EC was pitch perfect, but this is great. It won't look so good because of the smell score, but damn this is delicious.

Have to say, once the alcohol aftertaste is gone, there is a seemingly infinite amount of joy in the aftertaste. Lingers perfectly on the palate and really increases the drinkability of this one.


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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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Photo of iadler
3.65/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Hophead101 and mikereaser. Thanks guys! Bottle #2197.

A- Pours a dark brown with a one finger off white head. Some lines of lacing are left behind.

S- When served around 50 degrees, this beer has nearly no aroma. However, after warming up a bit, oak and bourbon are prominent upfront with a hint of roasted malt, unsweetened chocolate, brown sugar and honey.

T- Earthy oak upfront, bourbon, dark chocolate, roasted malt and a bit of sweet honey. Not bad, but really not complex.

M- Medium to high carbonation a fairly thin body. The mouthfeel is too thin and could use a little more body. Finishes with some heat.

O- Underwhelming would be the best word to describe this beer. There didn't seem to be a strong base beer that incorporated the barrel aging treatment and this just tasted like a bourbon forward beer with a watery body. I'm glad I got a chance to try my first bottle of the Eclipse series, but I'm curious why this is a $30 bottle and am a little worried about the 12 yr EC having the same disappointing results.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.69/5  rDev -14%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My mate Doops and I were lucky enough to be able to try the entire 2010 - 2008 series. This was the first bottle we opened. A big thanks to everyone who made putting this set together possible. Shout goes out to Masterski and dboon for providing bottles of the 2010 Evan Williams. Thanks gents!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2010
Bottle: 2032
Wax: Black

APPEARANCE: All the 2010 bottles basically look the same. Thin, transparent pour yields a small, medium looking, tan head with decent retention. Head fades relatively quickly to a faint wisp and ring. Black body, quite transparent, with no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Just too light and transparent for the style, unfortunately.

SMELL: This one is quite barrel heavy. Very similar to the HH variant we opened. Lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla up front. Some hints of dark chocolate come through a little as it sits, but this is a heavy bourbon barrel nose. More barrel and bolder than the 4R version, but not quite as much base beer is detectable as in the HH ‘09.

TASTE: Bourbon barrel up front with plenty of bourbon, oak and vanilla on the palate. One of the more bourbon forward variants. A bit of the base beer comes through with some roasted malts and dark chocolate through the middle into the finish. A bold aftertaste of bourbon barrel and some bitter, dark chocolate lingers nicely on the palate. The bourbon barrel is quite flavorful as opposed to being boozy, and the base and barrel mesh well together. Good stuff and much like the HH variant.

PALATE: Medium-full body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky. A touch of heat lingers as well.

OVERALL: This is a solid beer that is worth checking out. Although the pour is rather thin and unimpressive, the rest of the beer is quite enjoyable. I would put this somewhere around the middle of the series, being behind the HH, 4R and definitely the EC. This is probably the best example of what the series is all about though, and while I don’t think I’d go hunting for it again, I wouldn’t turn it down either. Plenty of this was brewed and bottled, so if you’re curious about the series, this would be a good place to start exploring I suppose. Recommended.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hannydawg for sharing this one.

A: pours black with maroon highlights, appears a bit thin for style/abv, some lacing, minimal head retention

S: starts off with heavy oak the is melded nicely with notes of vanilla, marshmallow, rich cocoa, and bitter earthy hops on the finish

T: robust chocolate starts things off and gives way to mellow vanilla and a touch of coconut, a little bit of bitterness on the end. Nice balance.

MF: somewhat thin for style...doesn't really detract from the overall experience, medium carbonation

O: this is a nice exhibition of well executed bourbon barrel aging, only wish is for a little more body

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Chris. Bottle #202X (can't quite read it), 2010 release.

Pouring black with dark brown highlights, there's a dense, light brown head that falls off to a thin disk leaving patchy lace. The nose is pretty excellent, even for Eclipse. A wonderful creamy, caramel base from the stout paired with an excellent barrel character, there's coconut, vanilla, bourbon with some milk chocolate, a little roast, a nice boozy heat and some molasses. At this point, it's wonderfully balanced. And as Arbitrator notes in his review, there is a citrusy character present, it makes me think of Grand Marnier.

This tastes like an alcoholic chocolate milk. Bourbon - vanilla, a little coconut,moderately toasted oak -, chocolate, moderate molasses. A little bit of dark fruit is present, especially on the mid-palate, with plums, a little raisins (and some of that citrus from the nose). The roast character is moderate, lending a mild bitterness on the finish. A blend of vanilla and a little alcohol is present on the finish (think vanilla creme brulee), along with a little oak. Medium in body with soft, creamy carbonation, this feels pretty excellent on the body. An excellent beer, highly recommended.

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Photo of nmbr0ne
4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter from 22oz bottle.

Appearance: Black with little to no lacing, and no head.

Smell: Strong bourbon smell from the barrels. I smell vanilla, molasses, small hints of caramel, and a lot of oak. You can definitely smell the alcohol, but it is not an overwhelming boozy smell.

Taste: Caramel, oak, roasted malts, slightest hints of chocolate, and a bourbon. The bourbon doesn't overwhelm the stout flavor.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin with barely any carbonation. Disappointing.

Overall: I feel the bourbon barrels were a great choice because it gave the stout awesome bourbon flavors, but the beer in general was a bit lacking. I want more stout characteristics as well. More roasted malts, more chocolate.

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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 scottfrie
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours near black with a thinnish bubbly dark brown head. Spotty lacing was left down the glass.
S: Buttery notes of caramel, marshmallow, vanilla and brown sugar. This beer smells smooth with no harshness.
T: Very smooth, integrated flavors of caramel, brown sugar, butter, bourbon barrel spices and chocolate. At this point this beer is incredibly smooth. The aftertaste is sweet and lingering.
M: Thick body, smooth, chewy mouthfeel with warming bourbon that is far from hot.
O: Definitely one of the best Eclipse variations out there. This beer is drinking really well right now, open one up.

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Photo of oline73
3.73/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was the last beer we opened up during our epic tasting last weekend. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours almost black with just a little light coming through the very edge of the pour. There is a layer of tan head.

Smell: Sweet, roasted malt up front with a strong presence from the bourbon barrel. The bourbon dominates the smell of this beer.

Taste: This one is quite hot from the bourbon. Dark roast and some sweet dark fruit notes. The finish is bitter. Not a ton of sweetness from the malt.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with some heat from the bourbon. Tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I would have liked the bourbon to be a bit less hot. A bit more malt sweetness coming out would have been alright with me.

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Photo of Florida9
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, really almost black, but not quite, with a slight transparency. Forms a small, light tan head and leaves some light light lacing on the way down.

S: Smells strongly of bourbon and oak with roasted malts, chocolate, and alcohol rounding out the aroma.

T: Much like the aroma. Lots of roasted malts, chocolate, molasses, bourbon, and oak. A little vanilla as well.

M: Full bodied with lighter carbonation. Virtually no bitterness, with a slight alcoholic heat.

O: A very nice beer. Rather complex, yet still quite drinkable.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.1/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had many of the eclipse series together. This is the 10 vintage. Pour is jet black and thin tan head. Nose is woody, bourbon, and some light chocolate. Sweet malts, sugary, and some dark fruits in the flavor. Dark chocolate underneath with bourbon and wood coming through strong. Full bodied feel, dry finish and low carbonation. Overly sweet with loads of wood and heat. Less complexity than the 4 roses and just as unintegrated.

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Photo of BrewerB
3.83/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 2276, picked up at Healthy Spirits when this beer was initially released.

Poured a dark black with a thin tan head that partially retains.

Very inviting nose. Caramel, coffee, dark chocolate. Bourbon character noticeable but not overwhelming.

Taste didn't live up to the expectations set forth by the nose. Harsher alcohol presence detracting from the enjoyment here. Some vanilla woody notes along with dark chocolate and caramel.

Medium bodied, low carbonation. Slightly oily.

A solid offering from a brewery I'd expect nothing less of in this department. I have another bottle of this particular version and am going to sit on it for another year or two, expecting improvement with a little more age.

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

Thanks to badboyrsl for sharing this. Poured into rodenbach tulip. Pours very thick, small cocoa tan head, disappears quickly leaving a ring. Completely black. Large alcohol bubbles. Nose is intense bourbon, dark fruits, lots of alcohol burn. Taste is sweet, the honey adds a great edge, bourbon comes out up front then ends with a hot roasty, dark fruityness. Mouthfeel is very smooth, not too much carbonation makes it almost velvety. The full bodiedness lingers in your mouth. This definitely earns a world class rating, it is complete and extremely well crafted. I am glad to have tried it

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to nerd for this one. Bottle #857. Poured from a waxed and capped bomber into a Southampton oversize snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black with no head. Lacing is spotty with poor cling but nice legs. Slightly below average.

Nose is chocolate, molasses, brownie, caramel, cocoa, and a mellow covering of booze. Decent but as this one warms, the alcohol smells takes over a bit too much. Still. Great complexity and integration of flavors here.

Opens chocolate, molasses, and brownie. Caramel and honey peak through towards the middle. Brownie and more molasses. Sharp booziness at the end with notes of cocoa and roasted malt. Finish is sweet molasses with a sweet boozy aftertaste. Really tasty.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and oily in the mouth and goes down mellow with a slight touch of heat even at room temperature. Finish is accented with a nice, warm aftertaste. Solid. Body is really perfect.

Another winner from the Eclipse series. This one probably lies somewhere in the middle, behind the pappy and Elijah Craig versions but ahead of all the others. I'd love to try another one of these in a couple of months.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a flared pokal.

Big thanks to hannydawg for sharing this bottle!

Bottle #2466, and I'm not sure if it really matters here, but this is from 2010. It pours a bleak black-brown topped by a finger of relatively short-lived dark-ish tan foam. The nose comprises bourbon, light oak, light vanilla, cocoa, light molasses, and roasted malts. The taste happily brings in more of the same, along with more chocolate, more roast, and more molasses. Nice. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation, a smooth feel, and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very nice stout, with a barrel treatment that seems to really help things. Yeah, it's a bit on the thin-ish side, but it really doesn't hurt things too much in this case.

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Photo of veinless
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had with AwYeh - thanks Luke.

Appears black and not really shiny or anything. Molasses look to it.

Smells of molasses, chewy tobacco, chocolate and bourbon. Evan Williams definitely featured but is not too forward on the nose which is good.

Incredibly smooth taste, silky transition from sweet to bitter. Chocolate and licorice rule the day with bourbon nicely weighted. More years would make this even better it seems, but I can't see it getting much better.

Feel is silk as mentioned earlier, pure bliss. Drinkability exceptional for the style, and abv is disguised quite well. Awesome beer.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany / espresso colored - dark brown around the edges and black through the center. No visible sediment or haze. Tan colored head rose around the fringes, but barely.

S: Bourbon, oak, cola, molasses, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. Very sharp scents, especially weighted toward the bourbon.

T: Sharp American oak is dominant. Bourbon flavors of vanilla, toasted oak and coconut blend with rich chocolate and molasses malts. Black coffee is prevalent throughout. So many bold flavors that it actually borders on harsh. Definitely not a subtle beer.

M: Good density and viscosity. Not much carbonation. Slightly tannic, likely from the oak.

O: Good bourbon-barrel aged imperial stout, but (if it's actually possible?) too much oak.

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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 PaulStoneAnchor
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 264

Appearance: Pours jet black with and tannish foam, along with a nice foam and some light lacing.

S: Sweet Oak and Bourbon, a nice honey malt, along with some graham cracker

T: Sweet bourbon, sweet oak, honey, graham cracker, some dark fruit, and some nice dark chocolate to finish.

M: The mouthfeel is nice with some light carbonation and a nice creaminess to it.

O: Overall, by far one of the best Eclipses I have had! I was lucky enough to try this at the 2010 prerelease party, and since then it has really turned into something amazing! I cannot believe how it has aged into such an amazing beer. I am absolutely amazed by how everything comes together in a really well-balanced packaged; you get the taste of the Totality( the base for Eclipse), with its sweet honey and dark chocolate, coffee characteristics, along with the sweet bourbon and sweet oakiness from the barrel. Everything comes together perfectly.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.89/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle # 608, cellared just shy of 1 year.

A: Poured from the black waxed sealed bomber bottle in a tulip glass, the beer is a black thick motor oil, with about 1/10 of an inch of head that forms to just a film resting on top, and then quickly dissipates to just razor thin ring of bubbles. When swirled, the light film of lace resurfaces. Light coating on the glass.

S: Initial scents are of oak, bourbon, mild vanilla, toast, and dark 80% chocolate. Also there is the touch of alcohol heat, medium roasted malt, and a mild touch of espresso.

T: Mirror the nose, flavors of vanilla, bourbon, medium roasted malt, oak, and dark chocolate. As it warmed, nuances of toast, a touch of honey, and a kiss of pepper are also present.

M: Light carbonation, light viscosity, mildly sticky.

O: Smooth. Having had totality, the barrel aging treatments do wonders to the base beer, though the beer, imo, could be improved with a better base beer recipe, as this I enjoyed, totality I would pass on. Though perhaps that is why the infusion is as remarkable as it is.

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