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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
97
world-class

524 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 524
Reviews: 175
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 8.06%
Wants: 256
Gots: 277 | FT: 23
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: 524 | Reviews: 175 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ngeunit1
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

ngeunit1, Apr 17, 2013
Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
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

DarthKostrizer, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I haven't tried that many Eclipse treatments yet (this is my second, after Java Coffee), so I can't compare this to the other variants, but this is quite simply one of the best BA stouts I've ever had. So smooth I could die. Purchased from Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester. Black wax.

It pours a deep, dark black, basically opaque. The head rises mightily, about 3 fingers of dark mocha foam. The lacing is nice, stays on the glass the whole way down.

Smells incredible. Smooth bourbon, oak, vanilla, a bit of chocolate. Left my nose in this one for a while.

The taste blows the smell away though. Tastes of cocoa powder, marshmallow, vanilla, smooth, sweet bourbon, and a mild oakiness make love to my taste buds. None of the mentioned flavors are intense or harsh, they subtly hit my tongue in smooth waves. Drinks much easier than the ABV suggests (9.5%)

The mouthfeel is appropriately full, creamy, and a bit chewy.

One of the best. These Evan Williams barrels worked wonders. Holy shit. Worth the money.

GreesyFizeek, Feb 11, 2014
Photo of ncaudle
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

ncaudle, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of BMMillsy
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 bomber, Bottle run 1 from Bay Ridge in Annapolis. Black wax. Pours black with a creamy khaki brown head into my Teku. Aroma has lots of whiskey barrel notes, subdued vanilla, dark fruits, roast molasses, honey, and a bit of chocolate. Very nice. Flavor is lots of molasses and bourbon with notes of dark raisins and chocolate, and hints of vanilla. There seems to be some wine-like notes with sharpness from the booze and barrel. It finishes with vanilla and leaves a dry oakiness on the palate. Feuit comes out more as it warms. The body is definitely on the thin side for a hefty stout, with low carbonation. While there could be more thickness to this, there is still plenty of flavor and I can see how having this on the thinner side could play well with tasting the different barrels. Overall a nice experience. Looking forward to my other 2 variants in the fridge.

BMMillsy, Feb 06, 2014
Photo of mltobin
4/5  rDev -7.8%

mltobin, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of markgugs
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

markgugs, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of Sparky44
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Sparky44, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of whatname
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

whatname, Mar 17, 2014
Photo of Jeffo
3.73/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Jeffo, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of CRJMellor
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

CRJMellor, Jan 20, 2014
Photo of Overlord
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overlord, Dec 24, 2010
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 rlee1390
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, two finger brown head and some lacing.

S-Good deal of bourbon, nice chocolate. roasted malt and slight coffee.

T-Very bourbon heavy, nice chocolate and roasted malt as well. Tad bit of vanilla and coffee.

M-Medium bodied and nice carbonation.

O-A middle of the road Eclipse variant. The bourbon really shined through. I was shocked such a bad bourbon made a good beer.

rlee1390, Jun 03, 2014
Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

vonnegut21, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of nickd717
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle came to me thanks to largadeer and westcoastbeerlvr, who transported it from the brewery to the possession of nickd717. So for this bottle I really have to thank nickd717. He is the man.

Pours pretty much jet black in color with a lasting one-finger tan head.

The aroma is amazing. Incredible whiskey aroma with -bals and chocolate and coffee on the background. Just heavenly shit.

The flavor is just a slight letdown i.e. phenomenal. Coffee, rich dark chocolate, roast, toffee, and an amazing -bal flavor of oak and vanilla.

Amazingly smooth on the mouthfeel with full body and soft carbonation. Just a tiny bit boozy.

Shit dogg, they did it again. Eclipse is ridiculous. Almost a perfect RIS, and probably will only get better with age.

nickd717, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of dfhhead25
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

dfhhead25, May 07, 2013
Photo of beergorrilla
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

beergorrilla, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

hoppymcgee, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of seeswo
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful black with a medium head. Looks great, FWIW. Smells fantastic vanilla, bourbon, oak, roast. Yum. Without tasting it, I can tell I opened the right beer to enjoy or endure the rose bowl. Taste is big bourbon, perfectly integrated into the flavor of the base beer. This base beer is so perfectly designed to be barrel aged, it just provides the perfect canvas for the various barrel flavors. Hints of the vanilla and oak, but predominantly bourbon. Fifty-fifty clear knows how to integrate is barrel flavor. Just delicious. Medium mouthfeel, not nearly as thick as some special release Big stouts, but fitting perfectly with the rest of the beer. Highly drinkable for a barrel aged stout with big flavor. I should have gotten 10 of these.

seeswo, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of greenspointexas
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

greenspointexas, Oct 01, 2014
Photo of nrbw23
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Snagged this in a trade a DLD.

A- Pours a black color with a pretty tiny brown head. Head becomes a ring of bubbles around the edge and leaves a bit of lacing.

S- Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, bourbon, molasses, and a bit of wood.

T- Very roasted, with sweet chocolate, molasses, wood flavor, and bit of bourbon.

M- Pretty smooth feel to it. Full in body and low carbonation.

O- Very nice to drink. I'm try to get some of the others.

nrbw23, May 03, 2011
Photo of Arbitrator
3.28/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Re-review.

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 ktrillionaire
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to CoastieSimon for the share, and to hopsbreath for sending it to him in the first place. This beer is the stunner of a pretty damn good tasting. It pours an inky, oily black hue and is capped with a wispy mocha head. The nose instantly betrays this as a world-class brew. The aroma offers exceptionally decadent notes of fudge, toasted coconut, toffee, caramel, vanilla, buttery oak, cafe mocha and 1000% pure deliciousness. The taste adds an additional layer of decadence, with boozy notes of maple and burnt sugar richly evident. The feel is absolutely silky-smooth, and is completely enhancing. This is just about as good as a beer gets.

ktrillionaire, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of jampics2
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

jampics2, Mar 22, 2013
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 524 ratings.