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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 TheSevenDuffs
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage with white wax. Thanks to Robbie for this bottle. Poured in to snifter.

A - Black with one finger of medium mocha brown head.

S - Sweet bourbon and toasted oak up front with a hint of vanilla as the barrel qualities come through. Chocolate, fudge, char and roast aromas are also present. A wonderful nose.

T - A big sweetness at first: bourbon, charred oak and vanilla from the bourbon barrel shine. A big chocolate fudge presence enters mid-palate with roast, molasses and light char notes. The big bitter roast profile and a touch of warming alcohol cut through the sweetness nicely, creating a superbly balanced beer.

M - Full body. Thick and chewy with a nice silky texture. Light carbonation.

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Photo of John_M
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is quite impressive in this beer, as I pick up considerable vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, maltballs, coffee and a hint of anise. The beer is every bit as terrific on the palate, and the flavor profile seemed to be dominated by chocolate fudge, vanilla, noticeable bourbon and light licorice. There was also a hint of bitterness in the finish that, along with the licorice, seemed to help counter the sweetness in this beer. This beer has quite a presence in the mouth, and is almost decadently smooth, creamy, rich and long. Alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can definitely tell it's up there a bit in this beer.

Just a great beer. Really a lot going on in this one. Excellent stuff.

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Photo of corby112
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, bottle 4138

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears pitch black and completely opaque in the glass with a one finger beige head that quickly settles into a thin, lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Complex aroma with a prominent barrel presence that compliments the base beer without completely obliterating it's characteristics. Lots of dry oak and spicy bourbon along with subtle vanilla and toasted coconut followed by a robust roasted malt presence. Slightly smokey with hints of dark chocolate, gourmet coffee bean, burnt toast and oatmeal. Nice balance of oak, spirit and roasted malt preventing it from becoming acrid or overly boozy in the nose.

Medium bodied with a strong barrel character that's decently integrated into the flavors of the base beer. Very dry with lots of charred oak and spicy bourbon lingering over the deeply roasted dark malts into a bone dry finish. Unfortunately not as complex as the aroma suggests with the dry wood flavors eliminating the vanilla/coconut notes. Plenty of spicy bourbon flavor but it's not hot or tough to drink. Also, it's not as tasty as the 12 year treatment, tasting like a different bourbon to me all together. Underneath, there is a complex malt backbone with a balance of roasted coffee bean, oatmeal, burnt toast and sweet fudge/chocolate cake notes. This is still a really good beer but the oak presence is a bit too strong for my liking and the bourbon flavor didn't live up to my expectations.

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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 VeganUndead
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2012 vintage, tasting alongside 12 year, bernheim wheat, old Fitzgerald, makers mark, and pappy. By far the best of the group, only to be topped by the previous mekers mark I was able to enjoy very fresh. Still haven't been disappointed by the series. Cheers

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.73/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2011 bottle #2300 split three ways.

A - Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head. Decent retention and lots of lacing.

S - Chocolate, vanilla, toffee, coffee.

T - Vanilla, chocolate, toffee. Super complex and delicious.

D - Decent carbonation for the style and heavier nice body.

O - So good and complex. Very nice.

2012 Version as well.
Reserve BR1
Tons of toffe, carmel, vanilla, barrel and a touch of anise. I think 12 is maybe even better than the 11. Great stuff. Scores Updated for the 2012 version.

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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 sweemzander
4.34/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle # 4828. 2011 vintage.

(A)- Pours a nice pitch black color. Some subtle tan froth and lace.

(S)- A very pronounced bourbon barrel and oak profile. Really stinking good though. Bits of raisin and caramel behind it, but otherwise the bourbon and oak is the main focus. . . an awesome focus. Right at the end/finish, there is some small bits of coffee and cocoa.

(T)- A nice richness to it. Still the same great barrel characters from the smell. A bit more raisin and caramel poke through. Even almost just the tiniest bit of a brine-like salty bourbon note you can get sometimes.

(M)- A mellow/smooth carbonation level. A nice balance to it as well, but just not as harmonious as I thought the 12year was. Again, though, great barrel character throughout.

(D)- Another great barrel variant from FiftyFifty. However, I think I preferred the 12year to this one.

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Photo of claspada
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black color with a small tan head but still leaves some super lacing as your swirl the beer around.

Aromas of sweet Bourbon upfront followed by oak, vanilla, plum, dark chocolate, roasted malt and burnt caramel. As it warms you get some toffee, bitter espresso and light caramel maltiness.

The tastes follow the nose and begin with sweet bourbon, oak, roasted malts and dark chocolate. The flavor is also quite heavy on the barrel/char flavors as well as the vanilla. Light sweetness of molasses in the background.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Finish is dry and biting due to the emerging Bourbon presence.

Overall this Eclipse falls in the middle of the road of the 5 variations I have had. The smoky aspect which also I did not enjoy in the EC 12 is also here which hinders my enjoyment as I sip. The other barrel variations just seem to blend more effortlessly with the base beer compared to the EC ones which seem to overpower the flavor profile.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm finally getting around to reviewing my 2011 allotment of Eclipse. Thanks, Chris.

Black with brown highlights, there's a dense, brown head with excellent retention and nice lacing. The nose is great. Sweet as always, with caramel, and an initial intense expression of coconut that gives way to char, bourbon, vanilla and more coconut. This has such a fleshy coconut aroma, it's awesome. Pairs well with the caramel and cocoa too.

The palate opens moderately boozy, with bourbon, vanilla, coconut, which lead into the blend of caramel and cocoa from the base beer. The char from the barrel lends a little bitterness, and some nice oak and tannin character, especially on the finish. Moderately fruity as well, with a light grape character. In fact, the fruitiness coupled with the moderate alcohol character makes this almost brandy-like in some ways. Beautiful medium-full body with moderate carbonation, this beer is excellent.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at monks

Pours a completely blacked out color with a thin collar of tanned head. Fades out into a few splotches of film with little lacing on the glass.

Very rich, smoothed out bourbon in the nose with nice warming heat and vanilla. Oak and peat from the booze with some dark chocolate, brownie and softer dark fruit. A bit sweet and boozy.

Layered flavors of dark malt, bourbon and oak flow across the tongue, tempered by sweetness from dark chocolate, cake and a splash of dark fruit. I can taste the Elijah on this one, which packs a very pleasant punch. Heavy malt backbone with a bit more dark fruit and bourbon soaked cake. Finishes boozy with a kiss of vanilla.

Full bodied, nice carbonation, sticky and full on the tongue with a nice creaminess. This is easily my favorite of the Eclipse's so far (although I have a few more left to try). I'm guessing it's no coincidence that the Elijah appeals to me since it's one of my favorite (still affordable) bourbons.

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

Pours a dark, near black with brown highlights, minimal cap of brown froth, gone quickly, little spotty lace left on glass. Great initial whiffs of cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, espresso bean, tart dark fruit, oak, coconut, toffee, light char... really opens up as it approaches room temperature. First thing i noticed was actually a slightly thinner than preferred medium mouth feel, sips as it was still cool were quite mellow with only faint notes of bourbon. Really opens up as it wars, rich vanilla, dark chocolate, espresso bean, lightly sweet toffee, bourbon not overly boozy but offers wood, char and coconut with its faint kiss of booze, dark pitted fruit. Fuller side of medium bodied, lightly sticky, no real lingering notes. Fantastic taste, bourbon aging done right without too much unneeded booziness.

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Photo of champ103
3.25/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have had this several times. Usually thanks to Dajtai007 or one of the other generous BAs that I hang with.

A: Pours dark black, not quite opaque. A small tan head forms and recedes in a second. No lace to speak of. Though I do notice some legs.
S: Wood, vanilla, chocolate. Hot alcohol in the throat.
T: Follows the nose but a bit rougher. Grainy malts with lots of rough alcohol. The barrel is very appearent with the alcohol, charred wood, and vanilla dominating. Some roasted ground coffee and chocolate peaks its we through.
M/D: A medium-full body. Low on the carbonation and a bit thin for my tastes. Hot alcohol and a slow sipper. One I have to share with others or this will not get finihsed.

A bit simplisitc with to much barrel and nothing else. I have had it side by side with BCS, and they do not even compare.

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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 IdrinkGas
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #5501 poured slighty cooler than cellar temperature into a snifter.

Pours pitch black with a finger and a half of head.

Picking up bitter chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. All nicely proportioned Some alcohol is also detectable.

Dark chocolate, brown sugar and molasses up front. Much less oak compared to the 12yr and a little more alcohol heat. Finishes with a little burn. As it warmed it had a wonderful fudge brownie flavor.

Great carbonation and mouthfeel. This one was the most carbonated of all the variants I've tried thus far.

I'm glad I picked up a few bottles of this one! Can't wait to try it again with some age.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an amazing BA stout, take the Elijah Craig 12 eclipse and add some extra smoothness and you have this beer. A true gem to enjoy, wish this would make a comeback.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.34/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter. Bottle 770, vintage 2011.

A: Black, with light head and decent lacing. Completely opaque.

S: Rich and wonderful. I really enjoy this one. Nougat, chocolate, and caramel.

T: Incredibly rich. Soft, sweet, and distinguished. Great bourbon is telling. Even fruity. Delicious.

M: Super-soft, but kind of flat.

O: Delicious. Definitely one of my favourite bourbon-aged stouts.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one was a part of cmrillo’s 40 Beers* @ 40 Birthday Bash! Shared by cmrillo at his own party! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured pitch black with a half finger khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, vanilla, sweet alcohol, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a fairly great brew. If you were to ask me what I thought an Imperial Stout should be, this is one of those brews that I would describe without hesitation. I can honestly see why this one has made the Top 100 list and doesn’t look like it is going anywhere anytime soon. If you call yourself a stout lover and have not had this brew before, you don’t know what you are truly missing.

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Photo of maximum12
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again to flexabull for passing these along from his compound in California. Nothing better than an Eclipse stout on a lazy Wednesday night in globally-warmed Minnesota. Bottle #2331, white wax, 2011 version.

Pours big stout black, which really should be a brownie or something. Nose is huge bourbon notes sullied with sweet, chocolate, malts. Wildly stronger than the Buffalo Trace.

Elijah Craig 18 Year Eclipse is a crazy good. The bourbon & the base stout are wedded with precision that would do an atomic clock proud. The bourbon is out front & wielding a mace - so as not to draw blood, but you all knew that. Beautiful bourbon, strong oak notes, underwire of vanilla. All laid on top of a stout that bring sweet malts, lush chocolate. Bits of black, shriveled fruits. Tummy, throat, mouth are all warmed & grinning. As all the Eclipse stouts, I strongly believe they should come in bottles the size of small swimming pools.

Wow. Fantastic. I'd be hard-pressed to say this is better or worse than any of the others, but it's brilliant. Excellent beer that runs right up to the line of overdoing the bourbon, then steps back smartly. Love.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle #2160. 2011 vintage, white wax (billed as Elijah Craig 20 yr on the futures). enjoyed from a southampton ris snifter.

a - brew poured a watery black with just shy of a finger's worth of creamy tan head. the milky head slowly bubbled away leaving a thin skin of head on the surface of the brew. lacing was spotty. in the glass, the beer looked much fuller than when poured.

s - really nicely balanced stout and bourbon. there are nice malty chocolate notes in there, but they are dipped in woody booze. VERY nice and appetizing.

t - some vanilla notes. chocolate. char. cream. booze. sweetness. gets much tastier as it goes. the vanilla notes really help make the flavor masterful. rich and decadent. hell of a beer.

m - smooth and surprisingly not as thick as i had expected. boozy.

o - overall, nice. not my absolute favorite barrel aged stout of all time, but damn close. this beer is VERY good. as far as flavor, as this one warms, it is top notch...i look forward to tasting this in a side-by-side with others in the series. i dig a boozy barrel aged stout and this one is boozy for certain. a fun series. really nicely integrated vanilla. if you don't like the heat, then this is one that you should stay out of the kitchen with.

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Photo of Rutager
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottle #1094. Thanks Mrbubbler!

Appearance. Pours black (and not especially thick) with a skim of tan head.

Smell. Woody, sweet, and very smooth bourbon, caramel, vanilla and chocolate, some coffee. Not too shabs.

Taste. Very woody, smooth bourbon, caramel and vanilla, a little chocolate and a bit of coffee.

Mouthfeel. On the low side of full bodied, low carbonation.

Overall. A nice stout with a good amount of bourbon. Smooth and not a lot of heat.

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Photo of gford217
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with white wax.

Pour is consistent with all the 09 and 10's I've had, which is to say it's a little lighter than most impy stouts, dark chocolate brown with a small beige head that sticks to the sides on the way down.

Aroma is sublime, big on the bourbon, possibly the most whiskey-forward of any of the versions I've smelled before. Lots of coconut and vanilla from the barrels with the underlying chocolate malts taking a bit of a back seat.

The taste is a little different but almost as good. The bourbon is there but doesn't have quite the same vanilla and coconut character. It's more oak and booze with a heavier dose of roast than the aroma.

Mouthfeel is trademark Eclipse, crazy smooth but not overly thick.

Todd consistently makes some of the most drinkable and well-integrated barrel-aged stouts and this is no exception. This particular iteration is a little heavier on the bourbon than I would prefer (HH09 is damn near ecstasy) but is still excellent. Can't wait to try the other 2011 versions.

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Photo of illidurit
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at the Santa Cruz tasting in January. I don’t have a lot of notes, but this one really stood out as tasting like a ridiculous melange of See’s candy flavors. Heaps of chocolate, vanilla, toffee and iced coffee. Very sweet and delicious.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a 25cl Duvel tulip. Huge thanks to Tony for sharing this one; always a treat to try a new Eclipse variant!

A: Black with faint dark-brown highlights. Thin dark tan head. Ok retention and spotty lace. Not bad.

S: Sweet, nougaty, lightly spicy bourbon at first; some coffee, chocolate, and vanilla follow behind. Very nice.

T: Vanilla, caramel, and bourbon up front; milk chocolate and peppery spicy thereafter. Very smooth, balanced, and terrific.

M: Creamy medium-full body. Moderate but mouth-filling carbonation. Yes.

O: Yet another terrific beer in this series. A little more nuanced than the 12, and a great pairing with actual EC 18 bourbon. Good times!


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