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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

157 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 157
Hads: 575
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 308
Gots: 268 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 11-22-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

White wax.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 157 | Hads: 575
Photo of Sean9689
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased from the source.

A - Pours black, light mocha-colored head, thin ring.

S - EC booze, chocolate brownies, oak, burnt sugars, light roast. Very sweet and rich, no dark fruit sweetness (which I like), booze is pretty amped but doesn't detract.

T - Chocolate, vanilla, oak, booze, caramel. Again, pretty heavy on the booze but settles down after it warms up a bit. The chocolate sweetness and rich and sweet, much like a syrup. Really good stuff. Finish is light roast & molasses sweetness.

M - Full body, rich and smooth, creamy finish.

O - Excellent beer right now, but has some room to improve with some more cellar time. The booze is a bit high at the moment, and another 6 months or so would do this beer a lot of good. Drink now, drink later, doesn't matter...Todd continues to make some of the best barrel-aged beers available today.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Awesome extra given by leschie! Thanks Kurtis!

poured into tulip glass.

reviewed from notes taken on 1/8/13.

bottle # 2384. Vintage 2011.

Appearance: black bodied beer with a thin tan cap.

Smell: bog black licorice notes and a hint of barrel notes.

Taste: Black licorice is the big flavor upfront. Oak and tobacco. Touch of a bourbon bite. Light leathery note. Chocolates. A touch of oxidation.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with carbonation levels at the high end of low almost a medium carbonation level.

Overall: really good 50/50 BA stout. Really glad that I got to try it.

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Photo of Auracom
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Jeff, huge thanks for saving this bottle for me for nearly 8 months now. 4 oz. poured into a FFF Teku on June 8th, 2012.

A - Looks like the other Eclipses. Thin, semi-dark brown coloring. Lacking any sort of considerable carbonation but showing a decent amount of alcohol legs.

S - A bit subtle overall. Soft milk chocolate, touches of oak bourbon barrel - vanilla bean, roasted cashews, wood grains.

T - Picks up strength here. The Elijah Craig oak note is massive, with underlying espresso, roast, and dark chocolate. About as barrel-forward as you can get while curtailing any and all sweetness.

M - Medium body, semi-dry and super tannic finish. Fairly smooth and very little residual heat.

D - My mind is not blown as I'd hoped, but another great Eclipse variant with perhaps the most intriguing barrel character I've had. Would revisit without question.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: The beer itself has a dark brown hue with lighter, transparent brown edges. A small tan head forms on the initial pour but fades away without really leaving any lace.

Smell: The 18 year Elijah Craig comes through first, like my experience with the other barrel aged Eclipse beers. Molasses, vanilla, and oak are strong as well, with chocolate and coffee behind.

Taste: The Elijah Craig is a little bit more nuanced in the flavor. Dark chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee start a fairly strong imperial stout flavor. As soon as it starts turning sweet with vanilla and molasses notes, the bourbon and oak dry the flavor out and prevent it from moving too far in that direction. The bourbon really carries through to the finish. Interestingly, when I first tasted the Eclipse beers, I thought the flavor of the beer was quite strong, with the barrel flavor adding further depth. Now I notice the barrel flavor and feel the underlying stout might leave a little bit on the table.

Mouthfeel: For the style, the body feels to be in the middle of the spectrum. The carbonation is on the light side, trying to be creamy and smooth, but it could use some more carbonation.

Overall: This is another solid Eclipse that I am glad to have tried.

I am curious whether people who have given this beer such a great score have sampled it side by side with the Eclipse - Elijah Craig 12 year. There is not that big of a difference.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lighting was low, but from what I can tell the color is an inky black. There's very little head.

Smells heavily of vanilla and oak, with lighter notes of chocolate and lighter yet, roasted marshmallow.

The vanilla and oak dominate the taste and is a little bit more harsh than the 12 year, but still very good. Chocolate and coffee roasts finish it.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. It leaves a pleasant burn in the back of the throat.

I liked this slightly less than the 12 year, but still an outstanding beer nonetheless. The price point is a bit high, though.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special Christmas beer! Split 3 ways between my boyfriend, dad, and I. White wax-Fantastic and unexpected christmas gift from uncle jedi.

A- Body is a nearly black opaque hue. I cannot get any light to show through it. Pours with a miniscule 1/2 finger or so head. Head quickly fades to a thick collar and only traces of lacing are left behind in the glass.

S- Nose is excellent. Plenty of bittersweet dark chocolate, bourbon sweetness, molasses, anise, and a hint of alcohol astringency and oak barrel. Quite complex.

T- Flavor is not quite as complex as the nose. Bourbon is definately there with some plum and anise overtones. The oak barrel presence is subtle but adds a smooth base for the initial flavor. The bouron coms through for the finish-but is not overdone. The dark fruit really shows for the finish, and is, IMO, a tad overripe. A lot of chocolate comes through for the finish as well. Left to linger is a good dose of chocolate, a mild alcohol heat, and a hint of anise.

M-Medium to high carbonation and a nice dense, smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

0- Overall this is a great beer-I had a taste of the Heaven Hill at the Jackie O's realease-but this Elijah Craig version is far better. The barrel is subtle and the bourbon is there but not overdone. Not life changing or anything like that-but a very good stout and a must try.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a almost black dark brown, some clarity present at the edges, somewhat thin appearance for the style

S: nose features licorice, sweet waves of malts followed by dark chocolate, mellow vanilla, and a heavy amount of oak

T: lots of chocolate and vanilla present on the palate with plenty of oak that follows it up, terrific balance, a touch of booziness on the finish

MF: somewhat thin for the style, medium carbonation

O: nice balance, great flavor, this is probably the thinnest of the 50/50 variants I have tried which doesn't detract from the overall enjoyability

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

White waxed neck, part of an Imperial Stout tasting on DL day 2012.

Appearance: Poured almost jet black with a fine tan head leaving modest lace.

Nose: Very rich with vanilla, oak, chocolate, coffee and fruit notes, along with a hint of hops. Complex and balanced.

Taste: Very nicely balanced, subtle bourbon flavor, coffee and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Nice and heavy, the best mouth-filling imperial stout of the night.

Overall: this beer brings it all together, one where the total is greater than the sum of the parts. I enjoyed it more and scored it higher than the average of the individual scores. Would like to get my hands on more of this fine brew.

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Photo of brystmar
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed as part of last night's bottle share. Thanks to rlmartin, rmjavanut, hoppymcgee, and whartontallboy for contributing to this 11-bottle Eclipse tasting! Beerporn is here: http://i.imgur.com/e9auu.jpg

Aroma was more pungent, complex, and stout-like than the EC12 or '09 EC. Chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, booze, and bourbon all play nicely together.

Similar results from the taste: this EC18 was significantly more refined and balanced than its Elijah Craig siblings (or any of the other Eclipse variants, for that matter). Everything from the nose shows up in due time, dances on my tongue, then fades cleanly and smoothly back into the stout backbone. Bourbon character is well-balanced, which was a serious problem for many of its peers.

This EC18 was our group's consensus favorite. Buffalo Trace & '10 Heaven Hill tied for 2nd place IMO. But honestly, I was unimpressed across the board with most of the Eclipses. Bourbon County Stout is far superior to all of them except EC18. Very glad I got to try them all, but EC18 is the only one I'd seek out again.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Eclipse Stout, Elijah Craig (18 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co is a black stout with a dark tan bordering on brown cap that left some splotches on the glass.

Smell is what you would expect from the style, dark chocolate with slight vanilla notes and oak toppled by the blend of bourbon BA'ing resulting in bourbon and stout. Some dark fruit pops out. I May have smelled the honey used, but that could be my mind.

This is nice, not as large than I was expecting in body, yet tons of flavor from the barrel without losing the base beer. Nice hits of charred oak, vanilla, booze, chocolate, cocco, and some roasted malt. By this time the hops have all but faded leaving for a malty ride.

Feel is a little thin for the style. I kind of like that as it makes it easier for me to drink, and Im sure it helps to pick up more of the barrel in a thinner stout. The carb was a bit lacking, yet not dead. Over time, it dwindled. A great beer but 5oz's are plenty for me.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Darkness tulip.

Thick rich looking pour. Two full fingers of mocha head. Dissipates at a snail's pace. Some lacing is evident.

Smell is quite nice. Sweet molasses, vanilla, some light spice. Faint bourbon and some slight toasted coconut. Very appealing.

Fairly thick on the tongue. Almost chewy. Not as sweet as the smell. Roast is prominent up front, but not overly done. Some wood is picked up. Followed by dark chocolate. Booze warms the back of my throat, but I don't taste any. The aftertaste holds all the sweetness that I was looking for. Very drinkable.

I'm going to finish this bottle and see what else I can pick up. I tasted a little more of the toasted coconut I got in the nose after my bottle opened up. Very tasty beer. Looking forward to my next bottle to see how this develops.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark as night black with a thin dark brown head that left some good frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of boozy bourbon barrel heat in the aroma with lots going on consisting of chocolate roastiness, caramel, vanilla, hints of coconut, caramel and a little dark fruit as well.

T: the chocolate roastiness was more prominent on the taste alongside caramel, molasses, vanilla, lots of bourbon barrel booze heat, dark fruit accents and a touch of maple syrup.

M: the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had sweet, very mild fruity bourbon barrel, boozy, roasty, chocolatey, silky and rich finish.

O: very delicious beer with great characteristics and curious to see how it does with a little age on it.

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Photo of brentk56
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 466 or 2011

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a film and some bubbles; very little lacing (particularly compared to the others in the series)

Smell: Chocolate fudge and Bourbon, with vanilla, oak and toasted coconut in the background

Mouthfeel: The Bourbon mingles with the chocolate fudge flavors, adding vanilla, toasted coconut and oak and building to a boozy crescendo in the mid-palate; the flavors mingle, after the swallow, producing a warm finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Overall: A very nice beer but I was expecting to be overwhelmed; out of the bottles I tasted from my cellar over the past few days my favorites were the Four Roses and the brandy barrel, which were the ones I was expecting to like the least; as they say in the sports world, "That's why they play the games."

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Photo of Florida9
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark brown, almost black. Forms a thin off-tan head. Leaves some very mild lacing.

S: Lots of booze and quite bourbon-y. Chocolate, oak, vanilla, and a little molasses.

T: Fairly oaky and mildly sweet. Lots of roasted malts, some dark caramel, brown sugar, and light vanilla.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with a mild bitterness and lower carbonation levels.

O: A good to very good beer that offers up a nice balance between the imp stout itself and the strong flavors of the barrel, while still being pretty damn smooth.

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Photo of Azurescens
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage bottle number 4470 poured into snifter on 3/4/2012

A: Pours black with light brown head. Decent head retention that leaves some lacing around glass.

S: Oak, alcohol, sweet dark malt, and a hint of dark fruit. The dark fruit aroma is interesting and was not present in the Eclipse Elijah Craig 12 I just had, this is also more roasty and intense. Some vanilla, bourbon and caramel are present as well.

T: Quite rich and flavorful, loaded with roasted malt, oak, vanilla, chocolate and dark fruit. Some nice creaminess, bourbon and caramel towards the finish.

M: Smooth but with a slight sharpness that was not present in the EC12 version. Low-moderate carbonation and finishes slightly sweet.

O: Great barrel aged imperial stout, I prefered the Elijah Craig 12 version ever so slightly more than this one. While this has some nice dark fruit notes and is slightly more intense, it is not quite as smooth or drinkable. Enjoyed both versions a lot and very glad I got the chance to sit down and review these.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.24/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bottle poured into an Eclipse snifter. 2012 bottle. Says "Reserve" on the bottle, but I don't know what that means.

Appearance - Murky black with transparent edges. Not much of a head. Wispy surface.

Smell - Smoother bourbon character than Old Fitz. Nice bourbon and barrel character. Vanilla comes through. Chocolatey.

Taste - Bourbon is smooth here too. Lots of vanilla. Much sweeter. Less bitter chocolate. Bourbon doesn't linger throughout.

Mouthfeel - Slick and creamier than the base beer. Medium carbonation. Sweet and barrel booze finish.

Overall - Much nicer barrel character than the Old Fitz. Sweeter though, which I don't love as much as others seem to.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.24/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml white waxed bomber poured into tulip 5/10/12 thanks Sean9689 and Masterski for sending the bottle

A black liquid with a thin dark cola edge, just a finger of dark tan head that fizzes out fairly quickly and leaves zero lace

S boozy smokey bourbon, woody, licorice, chocolate fudge is strong, just a little coffee, and sweet chocolate

T just a little dark fruit and chocolate covered raisin, everything I smells still there but stronger and its very rich, some charred wood and lots of barrel in general, only booze keeps this one from perfection

M silky with low-medium carbonation, thick but not as thick as I expected, warming booze almost hot, slightly sticky and almost floats your teeth with a slightly numbing effect

O tasty stuff for sure but I should've sat on it for another year or two, looks basic but all other areas are solid

a big boozy brew with nice qualities from the barrel, easy enough to drink but if I had another I'd sit on it for a while. Stoked to try it but top 100? maybe in a year or two

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Photo of xpimptastikx
4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 White waxed bottle

A - Darkness with a finger of milk chocolate head, a thin sheet that sticks around and leaves some legs.

S - Alcohol heat, oak, vanilla, cocoa.

T - Nice roasted malts, cocoa, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light coconut, and a light dark fruit that falls perfectly into place.

M/D - smooth and creamy, slightly tannic from the barrel. A great treatment for the base beer, one of my favorites to date, and the only real complaint would be the alcohol present in the nose.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage, bottle #2561

taste- some winey notes in the finish, milk chocolate

color- deep brown chestnut

clarity- pours clear and dark

smell- vanilla, coconut, tobacco, toasted malts, soapy

body- lingering hoppy bite under the top lip, soft and oily on the palate, light-medium weight in the mouth, short, disappointing finish

appearance- mocha-colored carbonation after the pour but it dissipates quickly to a faint layer across the top of the beer. tight, fine bubbles, decent lacing

overall impression- starting to think these beers are short lived and should be consumed sooner than later...i'm glad i'm tapping into them now. really enjoying the nose, flavors have died off slightly, body is mellow...wishing there would be more depth of flavor

notes and comments- alcohol still present, fairly well balanced...warmth in the stomach

beer spy- got in on the pre-order through fiftyfifty, 2011, 22oz

glassware: tulip

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Photo of ferrari29
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from bottle into a Snifter shaped glass

A - Beer pours with a dark brown, black colored body; coffee/tan colored head; no visible carbonation; small amount of lacing; liquid/watery pour appearance; very small head formed

S - Vanilla; brown sugar; very high ABV nose; back-end has a nice dark chocolate and coffee taste; cream; scotch whiskey; dark fruit; prunes; raisin

T - Very boozy; liquor taste; barley any taste of honey; bourbon barrel flavor; strong vanilla; figs and dates; prunes; dry oak barrel taste

M - Medium build; heavy lingering coffee bourbon aftertaste; kind of creamy

D - Pleasurable and certainly unique; great idea to age these beers in barrels from different years;' I think the bourbon taste is great and the beer has just the right amount of flavor where it doesn't completely overwhelm every other ingredient

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles, CA as part of the FiftyFifty Eclipse Release Party.

2011 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch foamy khaki head that fades to an oily film. Small streaks of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, wood, and a very mellow bourbon aroma. Taste is pretty much the same. The bourbon from the 18 year Elijah Craig is very mellow and smooth flavor wise. There is a slight roasty bitterness and a very slight alcohol warmth in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barrel aged stout with a very mellow and smooth bourbon presence. I can only assume the higher quality version of Elijah Craig is the reason why.

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Photo of treyrab
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The time has come, and I finally got this in the mail today. Wasted no time to put in the cellar. Opened at cellar temp tonight into an unbranded snifter.

A: A vigorous pour yields a one finger mocha head. Rather creamy, though it does not last. Around the edges are apparent brown and mahogany, but in the center - a clear black.

S: Decadent, really. The first thing I catch is the sweetness. Very sweet chocolate, coupled with sweet bourbon and vanilla. The bourbon is very present. Sweet vanilla and caramel coupled with toffee. Smells of tiramisu.

T: The taste rivals the smell, but brings an ashy, more roasty flavor. The bourbon is huge. In that, huge vanilla, huge caramel, and some heat. Kind of airy on the palate. Sweet chocolate with slight hints of dark fruits.

Overall, awesome. This will undoubtedly blend together and mellow in a few months.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours black with a medium tan head. Solid head retention, spotty lace, not as good looking a beer as the 12 year old.

S: Very spiritous, direct bourbon and ethanol notes, not the huge vanilla bomb of the 12. Refined.

T: Good dark chocolate flavour with spiritous bourbon. The ethanol mixes well with the other flavours and never goes overboard. A restrained yet powerful effort.

M: Full-bodied, spiritous I keep saying. Mellow, a sipper, an after dinner drink for sure.

O: The best Eclipse I've had so far. Well made and contemplative.

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Photo of claaark13
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Founders snifter, thanks to drink__ for making this a nice little back end of our interesting trade.

A - Pours fairly dark with a great looking head. Wow, I really didn't expect this at all in comparison to many under-carbonated bottles I've consumed. The head fades into thin lacing with a little bit of lacing and some small bubbles. Sticks to the side of the glass well enough.

S - Mild fudge, strong oak aroma. Light vanilla, slightly more of a toffee/caramel aroma in the middle. Then oak again. I'm confused by what seems to be virgin oak surrounding the entire nose.

T - Fudge, light vanilla and toffee. Somewhat expected by the aroma, although the dry oak doesn't come out until the end. No real booziness evident...maybe a slight amount about 3/4 through the flavor. There is some sweetness in the backbone as well that seems to help carry the vanilla/toffee flavors. More fudge battles light vanilla in the dry finish. The dryness seems to come on just a bit too early. That is a shame, because the rest of the flavors are great. (4.25)

M - Medium to, dare I say, full body? Interesting. It does seem thicker than previous releases. There is carbonation and a thicker body that really adds to the flavors. It starts off a little light on the tongue, but then sticks very well.

O - This is an improvement on the 2010 releases in body and head retention. I also like the look of the white wax, but that should be irrelevant. It is a good beer, but I don't really know how it will hold up with time. With the exception of the early-onset dry finish, the rest of the beer is great. I'm having a tough time dropping the taste down to the 4.0, as I think it is lower than a 4.5 but higher than a 4.0.

I just opened bottle #1848 and noticed some different flavors. There is a dark fruit aroma/taste element that I didn't find before.

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Photo of rawla
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse on 12/27/2011

Served in a snifter.

A: Jet black silky appearance with little head. Slight lace along the side of the glass.

S: WOW. A very resonant french toast, presence with strong cognac, toasted oat, and french vanilla notes. This things smells amazing. No more words. A noticeable alcohol presence, but that is expected with something of this caliber

T: Tastes like a bourbon stout should. Silky, yet strong chocolate, toasted coffee bean, and bourbon/vanilla throughout. Not for the faint of heart, this things packs a taste and profile punch.

M: Feels like a very fine aged Tequila/Rum. Small bite to the feel, but eases out with the vanilla/chocolate profile.

O: A great wintertime warmer. It may be a bit boozy for some, but a few snifters of this will lessen the chill this winter. A-.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.