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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: 576
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 309
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: 576
Photo of keanex
3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from a 2011 650ml bottle.

A: Deep opaque brown, only seen through on the edges. Thin tan head quickly disappears leaving a small coating.

S: Mellow, but mostly bourbon and oak, slight sweetness comes through.

T: Same as the smell, huge alcohol bourbon sweetness with vanilla mixing in and out. Slight chocolate notes, but very subtle. Easy to sip.

M: Full bodied with light fizzy carb, syrupy.

O: The price of this is my biggest gripe, my second gripe is the price. I like this, but for $30.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.06/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

White waxed bottle poured into a snifter after being pulled from the wine cooler set to 55'F.

Obsidian black and topped by a creamy hot chocolate colored head that is well retained for a stout of this gravity. Additionally, as it dissipates and I drink, swirls of lace are deposited all over the walls of the glass.

The nose is surprisingly devoid of any bourbon character. Sweet clover honey, deep ashy tobacco, and roasted malts mix with warm alcohol in the background to round out the aroma. The flavor is more on par with what I was expecting. Toffee, caramel, and molasses all come out where they were completely lost in the aroma. As the beer opens up, so do the barrel notes. Bourbon, a ton of vanilla, and toasted oak balance some of the ashy tobacco that was so overpowering in the aroma. The finish ends with some sweeter chocolate and hints of the clover honey, as well as the warm alcohol.

In my previous experience with the PVW Eclipse, I found the texture thin and disappointing. Not so here. Creamy and full-bodied, this is much more what I expect to see from an Imperial Stout. Looking forward to drinking the rest of the varieties, for sure.

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Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a duvel tulip

Appearance: Black in color with a 0.5 inch mokah head, no retention, but noticeable lacing

Nose: Molases, caramel, bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

Taste: Roasted malt, toffee, bourbon and oak, all followed by light chocolate and a coffee finish

Mouth: Velvetty and flowing on the palate though there is a slight acerbic note on the finish

Overall: An excellent stout, wish the mouthfeel was a bit smoother, but all in all I would definitely re-visit this if not for the price.

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Photo of pperrecone
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smell is of foral honey and dark malts of roast and sweetness.

Taste is of dark fruits and honey with the carmel and vanilla from the bourbon. Perfect balance of everything in play here.

body is very nice not too thick but it is an imperial stout. thick

Overall one of the best beers I have had in my life!

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Photo of charlzm
3.35/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Consumed Saturday, January 7, 2012 at Blue Palms Brewhouse, Hollywood, CA.

Beer is opaque black with a nice tan head a finger tall.

Aroma is boozy - bourbon, rum and hint of vanilla.

Flavor is almost wholly dominated by the booze. Alcohol warmth suffuses each sip. Aftertaste is salty and woody. Very little character of the base beer makes it through.

Mouthfeel is warm and a little thick.

I prefer the base beer to this one, I'm afraid.

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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 djmichaelk
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Chilled 22oz bottle into a snifter. My first sample out of my big box of 2011 futures; time to see if they live up to the hype.

A - Pours a dark brown, not black, with auburn highlights and a couple of fingers of mocha-colored head. Decent retention given the abv, and some wispy lacing on the glass.

S - The aroma is pretty straightforward chocolate cake, with just a hint of bourbon and bits of spicy hoppiness. I'm surprised at how well the barrel is integrated in this bottle -- you know it's there, but it doesn't smack you in the face the way something like a BCS does.

T - Lots of fudgy chocolate, vanilla, almond, and toffee. Like in the nose, the barrel is at once both very subtle and very obvious, bringing lots of toasted coconut to the party. I was a little surprised at first at the apparent sweetness, then it turned to something more dry and cocoa-like. I'm loving this beer, and I can't stop sipping on it. At this rate the entire bomber will be gone in a few minutes.

M - Maybe a bit thinner than I would've thought, but all in all it's nice enough. It lacks the creaminess that a Zhukov has, which would really make this beer something special. Finish is medium-dry.

O - Yeah, I'm in love with this one. It's not perfect, but definitely up there with some of my favorites. I can't wait to work my way through the other variations.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
4.92/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into an oversized snifter

Pours black with a half inch thick of creamy tan colored head. Long head retention for a barrel ages stout. Sticky lacing remains along the sides of the glass.

The smell is nothing short of divine. Bourbon, vanilla and honey notes are rich and plentiful. They all blend together to create an insanely rich and balanced barrel aged profile. The honey contributes sweetness while the bourbon oak adds an oaky, vanilla bouquet.

Tastes follows the smell and it is certainly an awing sensation. Sweet bourbon flavor followed by vanilla and bitter oak. Rich and chocolaty with some warming heat at the back end. I love the infusion if honey in the flavor profile. It is a perfect compliment to bourbon and all the other rich flavors going on here.

Medium-full in body with a creamy smooth mouthfeel. Light carbonation. Very drinkable considering all the bold, complex flavors. I'm taking my time, however, to savor every drop.

This is the only version I've had so far of the Eclipse stouts, and it certainly lived up to all the high marks. Every ingredient and flavor has a purpose. I would not imagine this getting any better with age. This beer is really aided by the fresh hot bourbon. Not sure about all the bottle variation talk, but this was a world class drinking experience for me.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This was the very first beer I had at the release party. Looked like a good beer, like they thickened it up a little, black pour, good amount of cherry cola like head on the top of it, something most Eclipses haven't been able to accomodate. Aroma was a blast of alcohol at first, but mellowed into a nice chocolate and bourbon blend that is what puts butts in seats at this place.

Taste was even better, alcohol blast was gone, really gone, chocolate made totality's heavy roast base fall into the background while vanilla lay prominent. Good chewy mouthfeel on it, bigger than any other Eclipse I had enjoyed up until this point. Oak impact slight. Sometimes the beer got silky. Ended up going back for this a few more times at the end of the night. It kept getting better. Can't wait for the first bottle of this one.

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Photo of phichifiji00
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Almost black, subtle tan head, no lacing.

Smell: chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak, licorice.

Taste: chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak, honey.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, moderate carbonation, silky, smooth.

Overall: A tasty bourbon barrel aged beer. Lots of vanilla/chocolate flavors. Pretty complex. Well balanced. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle number 5348. Shared with Amyliz4 and served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours near-black with a pretty good light mocha head and a surprisingly-large amount of lacing as it goes down. Thin cap recedes a bit quickly and makes way to a thin collar, which holds throughout. The nose brings bourbon first and foremost, but then has a good dosing of coconut and vanilla. Light oak character. Chocolate there as well.

Flavor has good oak, coconut, and vanilla in addition to the bourbon. Subtle roast and chocolate in the background. Most everything seems to be coming from the barrel and I won't complain one bit. Full body and chewy with just a bit of booze. Low-medium carbonation. Great complexity. Absolutely exceptional. Boom.

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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 mkotsayfan
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a deep dark black with a nice half finger dark mocha colored head. Very nice aroma, with coconut, licorice, along with some dark fruits and chocolate. The taste has similar characteristics as the aroma, along with some bourbon from the barrel aging. There is a slight amount of heat but it's not overwhelming by any means. Mouthfeel is fantastic, nice and silky smooth with just enough chewiness/thickness that an imperial stout should have. Also has a medium amount of carbonation, just enough but not too much.

A fantastic beer, always a fan of the silky smooth stouts with nice complex flavors. There is a little bit of heat, this could be an even more amazing beer with a year on it (this review was for a 2011 vintage, which has only been on shelves about a month).

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Photo of scottfrie
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours near black with a quarter inch dark mocha brown head that bubbled away into a faint collar.
S: I get strong notes of vanilla, coffee and smooth butter. I get a hint or two of wood and dark fruits as well. Overall the nose is smooth and integrated. I would say this is the most mellow and creamy of them all aside from PvW.
T: The flavors are so buttery in this one. This beer is crazy rich and smooth. The bourbon is just barely warm, and flavors or caramel, vanilla, oak and wood dominate and blend well with the bourbon. I’m not getting as much coffee as the nose. Oak and buttery barrel bring up the finish, and the aftertaste is rich and lingers forever.
M: Thick, full body, mellow carbonation and smooth and lightly greasy mouthfeel. The alcohol is just a touch warm at this point but it is hardly hot. Overall very smooth, rich and drinkable.
O: One of the better stouts in the world and probably the best or second best Eclipse. Another couple months on this and the tiny bit of warmth that is left from the bourbon will be all but integrated. A very rich, smooth and well done beer.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011 white wax. Generously shared by Nick as part of a great line-up we had on New Years Eve. Poured into a snifter.

A: Seems a bit darker than the Four Roses, maybe not. Still had a dark brown color on the pour while it looks completely black in the glass. Nice amount of tan head that faded away into some thick bubbles along the edges. Surprisingly good lacing, too.

S: Dark fruits and dark chocolate up-front, followed by a rich and sweet bourbon element. Certainly more present than the Four Roses, but it still has that sweet nature to it.

T: Bourbon is immediate here, semi-sweet and boozy but not hot really at all. Lots of bitter dark chocolate notes, caramel and raisin towards the middle. The finish brings another wash of bourbon and roasted malts. Really complex, flavorful and delicious. Very very nice.

M: Creamy, mild carbonation - just enough to break up the beer. Not really stick or hot going down, either. Very easy to drink.

Well, only my second ever Eclipse and this one certainly has many of the characteristics the Four Roses did but I found myself enjoying this one more. This had more of a bourbon element to the beer which I really like while still remaining balanced.

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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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Photo of srandycarter
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black, black, black. Very small head. Only a ring in fact. No lace to speak of.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate chip cookies.

T - Taste matches smell for the most part. Some tobacco notes as well.

M - The big boozy choco-sweet center is nicely checked by coffee and hops. Good carb and fairly clean finish. Pretty large body.

D - Could drink to excess.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Chris.

Pours viscous and black in color with a finger of tan head. Intense barrel and bourbon aromas, especially charred wood. There is a nice vanilla note to it and plenty of dark chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is also quite heavy on the barrel/char flavors as well as the vanilla. A nice bit of chocolate and roasted malt, minimal coffee notes. Light sweetness of molasses in the background. Medium bodied with smooth, low carbonation.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.76/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Bottle opened by me on Christmas Eve after my box randomly showed up the day before. Luckily I was there to receive it as I had no idea it was coming because I never received a tracking number.

A: Looks like Eclipse. The color is black and there's a not insubstantial light brown head that fades quickly.

S: Chocolate, a ton of licorice and anise, molasses, and somewhat harsh barrel phenolics. There's a little bourbon, but oak, licorice, and fusel alcohol dominate this.

T: This is a letdown. Lots of oak and harsh alcohol notes with a lot of licorice. Chocolate and bourbon are feeble. Astringency accompanies oak and stinging booze in the licorice finish. This tastes like the underwhelming bottles of Eclipse I had last year when they had severe bottle variation. I guess they haven't solved that problem.

M: Full body but somewhat thin and watery. Carbonation is low.

Overall: I had an ounce of EC 18 (not enough for a review) from a bottle shared by a friend that was really outstanding so I was excited for this, but after opening my first bottle I've come to the realization that perhaps this year's Eclipse versions will be riddled with bottle variation like they were last year. Hopefully I have better luck with the rest of my bottles.

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Photo of flexabull
4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Christmas treat for myself courtesy of a very generous BA, maximum12, thanks again!!!

Pours a thick flat black color with a pretty nice tan head, good lacing too.

Aromas are great, boozy bourbon, toasted coconut, vanilla, chocolate, and brown sugar.

Taste is chocolately up front, bitter dark cocoa, light sweetness, some vanilla, cream, coconut, and some dark fruit notes. Finish is bitter, warm, and boozy, but not overly so. This beer is no joke, its big, very complex, tasty, and well crafted.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky, maybe a touch thin though. I like big stouts to have a bit more body.

Overall, an excellent beer. I can see why people like this so much. The barrel flavors match really well with the big stout. This is well crafted, and top notch.

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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 waltonc
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened and shared with myself. Pours the color of Eclipse. Smell is roasty malt and Elijah Craig bourbon. Nice rich aroma. Lots of roast and char on the palate, along with EC bourbon, some vanilla, and slightly bitter chocolate. A little too bitter of a flavor for my liking, but quite good. Body is medium/thick with an appropriate level of carbonation. Overall, a good bourbon barrel stout but not one of my favorites. Still, this is considerably better than most bourbon barrel stouts. However, I enjoyed the 2009 EC12 Eclipse more.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage, bottle #4287. At the time of this review, this beer is the #29 beer on the "Top Beers - American Double / Imperial Stout" list on the best of beeradvocate.com. Yeah, it really is that good. This beer is effing amazing. Served in a DFH snifter.

Beer is black with a nice thin tan head of small bubbles, moderate to low carbonation, some lacing, decent retention.

Aroma is complex, fudgy, sweet, bourbon, malt, bourbon and more bourbon. Fucking amazing.

Beer is medium bodied, sweet up front, the alcohol cuts through a little but ultimately the bourbon and oak win out over the alcohol, vanilla, creamy mouthfeel, great finish, one of the best stouts I've had in a while.

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Photo of largadeer
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber into a Bruery tulip.

Appearance: Looks like Eclipse.

Smell: This stuff smells outrageously good. Coconut, cocoa, boozy amaretto, rich caramel sweetness. Just fucking fantastic.

Taste & mouthfeel: Delicious boozy bourbon, huge depth of flavor, like liquid Almond Joy. Roast and anise help balance the decadent flavors of coconut, chocolate and almond. Full-bodied, more rich and boozy than previous Eclipse vintages. The mix of coconut, chocolate and almond on the palate is pretty mind-blowing, superlative as that sounds. It could use a few months in the bottle to tame some of the alcohol and oak, but overall this is about as good as it gets for the style.

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Photo of HoppySuds
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the Blue Palm's Eclipse release party

A - Black, thick looking, a thin head leaves as much lacing as it can on the glass. It looks like a great imp stout

S - Sweetness of brown sugars, a great bourbon smell, more then the 12yr but diffidently not too much. Roasted malts and vanilla finish off the nose.

T - Flavors blend so nicely! Roasted malt, vanilla and a clean bourbon hint rounds out the sweetness.

M - The mouthfeel on this stout is by far one of the best I've had. Creamy, full bodied, and very rich.

O - This beer was amazing! I tasted the 12yr, 18yr, and the Four Roses. All were great, with just slight differences in flavor and levels of bourbon. This one has slightly more bourbon flavors which I really enjoyed. I'm sure this beer will cellar well and continue to get better with age.

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