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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

550 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 550
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 8.28%
Wants: 317
Gots: 271 | FT: 11
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

White wax.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 11-22-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 550 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ohtheguilt
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

ohtheguilt, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Edit:
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.

HuskyinPDX, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of will1256
5/5  rDev +11.9%

will1256, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of brotherloco
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz waxed bomber. 2011 Edition. Bottle #2932. Served in a snifter.

A vigorous pour gave me a very dark, opaque brown body topped by half a finger of dark tan foam. Dissipates to a frothy ring. A few strands of lacing.

Aroma of chocolate cherry cordial, banana, a bit of drywall dust from the wood. Melted vanilla-caramel swirl ice cream. Bourbon is at a real nice medium level, integrates with the sweet aroma and gives a booze kick. Smells amazing.

Flavor is stunning. Semi-sweet bakers chocolate meets sweet chocolate marshmallow. All of the melted icecream notes from the aroma are here too. Bourbon is present, tasty, and super well integrated. Dark fruit, smores, and roasted bitterness linger on in the aftertaste. Alcohol flavor emerges through the finish, but is nicely integrated. Definite heat after several sips.

Body hits a little above medium and carbonation a touch below. Velvety smooth and slick. Goes down way too easy.

I've had the pleasure to drink 7 variations of Eclipse and this is one is definitely my favorite so far. The booze is assertive, and the overall aroma and flavor is bourbon forward, but so damn well integrated with the base beer.

2012 Eclipse futures here I come...

brotherloco, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of oline73
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours black and very viscous. There is a half finger of thick tan head that fades to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Sweet chocolate and roast with some coconut. The bourbon and alcohol are there, but they compliment and don't overwhelm. Very complex.

Taste: A lot like the smell thank goodness. Dark chocolate with some dark fruit and warm bourbon. I'm getting the same coconut note along with the sweetness. Very smooth finish, a delicious beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick and smooth with tingly carbonation and a dry finish. The mouthfeel is superb.

Overall: This beer is nothing short of awesome. My favorite version I have tried so far. I would love to get a hold of another.

oline73, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of nanobrew
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

nanobrew, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of champ103
3.23/5  rDev -27.7%
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.

champ103, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of wdarcy77
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

wdarcy77, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

BdubleEdubleRUN, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of celticfutblclub
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

celticfutblclub, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of CADMixes
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

CADMixes, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of billab914
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Devil's Backbone tulip. It poured pitch black in color with a thin tan head clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma is very rich with chocolate, bourbon, oak and vanilla all coming out in it. I get a little bit of roasty coffee to it as well. The bourbon barrel flavors are well done and very complimenting. A lot of bold flavors are there, but it really comes together well and balances the imperial stout and barrel aging characteristics very well.

The taste shows more of the bourbon and chocolate up front. The finish is where I get more of the woody oak and vanilla mixing with some roasted malt bitterness. The oak seems to outshine the bourbon a little for me. Very smooth with some excellent, bold flavors to it. Again it really comes together well and feels very balanced and smooth for the style.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being moderate. It did feel a little thin at times, which is probably my biggest criticism of it. A little heavier mouthfeel and lower carbonation like BCS for example would really put this one over the top.

Overall it was a great beer. They really did a good job complimenting the beer with some great bourbon flavors. Very bold and flavorful but also smooth and drinkable. Very nice beer to sip on this evening. This one definitely rivals some of the best barrel aged beers I've had.

billab914, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of John_M
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

John_M, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of 3Hops
5/5  rDev +11.9%

3Hops, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of Gfunk720
4.93/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

White waxed bottle, #2906. Out of my HFS stemware.

A- Pitch black. Pours with a nice tannish head that sticks around forever. Great lacing that just coats the glass.

S- Rich smells of sweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon. A very pleasant hint of oak, with a slight bit of heat. The barrel to base beer smell wise is pretty much perfect.

T- A thick sweet flavor initially fills the mouth. Intense notes of oak and bourbon come in, with well matched chocolate malt and roasted backbone. Really not much heat in the taste, just brilliant bourbon pairing.

M- Not sure how, but this is thicker than all of the other Eclipses. Carbonation is perfect, but it still could be just the slightest bit thicker. Certainly not bad by any means though.

O- Overall, this is one of the best barrel aged beers I've had in a while. The Buffalo Trace bottles really made me weary of the rest of the 2012 bottles, but this one is friggin stellar. After having almost all of the rest of the Eclipse series, this is definetly a stand out.

-Gfunk

Gfunk720, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of sludgegnome
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

sludgegnome, Mar 10, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 03/09/12 notes. Huge thanks to Thorep429 for sharing this one; bit Want of mine. 2011 vintage, bottle 3737.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost blac color, with one inch of light tan head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of whiskey, vanilla, oak, sweet chocolate, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some caramel malts. Smell is really great; an awesome blend of bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla. Bourbon is a little bit strong, but I love bourbon forward stouts so I love it.

t - Tastes of sweet chocolate vanilla, cream,
marshmallows, roasted malts, bourbon, oak, cocoa, light coconut, and caramel malts. The taste is amazing, pretty perfect in my opinion. More chocolate then the nose and less bourbon, it is just a great blend of sweet chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation, the body is insanely smooth and creamy. Really a perfect mouthfeel.

o - Overall I thought this was a fantastic stout; one of the best I've had in a while. I had the 2011 Brandy version 3 nights ago and this blew it away; it's the best Eclipse variation I've had so far (including PVW). The smell was great and the taste and mouthfeel were perfect; exactly what I'm looking for in a stout. Really wish I had made an effort to get some bottles of this, time to go searching for some.

mdfb79, Mar 10, 2012
Photo of Arbitrator
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Update on 03/09/2012: I've drank 7 bottles of Elijah Craig 18 so far, and I've settled on my current score. The heat is not taming as much as I would like. It's still a good beer, just not $30 good. I'd say it is priced exactly at the point where I wouldn't take the gamble if I saw it on the shelf. But at futures prices I don't regret the purchase. I have 5 left and will be enjoying them over the next couple of months.

~~~

Chilled bottle into a glass. I've been a fan of Eclipse for a few years now; Elijah Craig '09 blew me away, and I've been anticipating a re-release of it ever since. FiftyFifty went one better and landed the distillery's premium barrels for this treatment.

It's damn good.

It's also inconsistent. So far I have opened 3 bottles, and each one has been slightly different from the last. Thankfully, none have been outright bad, like some of last year's worst bottles were. But since these are in the range of $30 a pop, you better believe I will scrutinize each bottle carefully and update my review.

A: Pours a semi-clear cola brown that darkens to black in the center of the glass. Pours with a half-finger of mocha foam that barely rises to a thin film. It leaves a modest collar around the edges of the glass. No lace.

S: Baker's chocolate, licorice, caramel. The barrel flavors are bold and brash, with a nose-singing heat accompanying waves of vanilla, toasted coconut, hazelnut, bourbon, oak.

T: The barrel complements the base beer very well; bourbon lends an interesting undercurrent of citrus and leather. But the biggest contributions are vanilla, toasted coconut, hazelnut, and oak; they make their presence known right from the beginning, blending seamlessly with the base beer's chocolate, licorice, and caramel. This is bolder than any of the other Eclipses were fresh; it is instantly a standout.

One of the bottles I opened had all this plus a noticeable ashy, over-tannic barrel presence. It threw the balance of flavors out of whack slightly, though it was still enjoyable. I'd give that a 4 on taste, but the others I have opened were substantially better. They'd be 5s if it weren't for the heat.

M: Medium-plus bodied. It's not a viscous, heavy stout along the lines of Black Tuesday, and I don't want that. I'd say this hits my sweet spot for the body. It is thicker than the previous iterations of Eclipse, and that helps it stand up to (or perhaps pick up?) bolder barrel flavors. There is a definite heat to the beer, which is a drawback. I expect this will subside in a few months. It is my personal goal to finish my bottles of Eclipse within 6 months; I've come to feel that they don't age well, so I'll give this only a little time to cool off before consuming it all.

Unrelated note: I strongly suspect that the Eclipses are much higher in ABV than the bottle indicates. The bottle has always claimed 9.5%; in past years I'd say they were probably around 11% in truth. I am pretty certain that this year's approach 13%, particularly the EC18.

O: The best bottle of this that I opened was a 4.7. The other two were 4.3 and 4.1 in my estimation. I'm leaving the score at 4.35 for now (approximately the average). As I consume more bottles, I will update my score.

I will say, however, that this and Elijah Craig 12 are my favorites of the 2011 treatments, with EC 12 being a tad more consistent (based on a very limited sample size). I don't begrudge the cost as long as the quality remains high. I would hate to find that a bottle this pricey is not consistent, especially since I know what this beer is capable of being.

Arbitrator, Mar 10, 2012
Photo of 2beerdogs
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

2beerdogs, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

hoppymcgee, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of Azurescens
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Azurescens, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of stevefinny
5/5  rDev +11.9%

stevefinny, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of brystmar
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

brystmar, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of nataku00
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

nataku00, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of woosterbill
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
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!

Cheers!

woosterbill, Mar 04, 2012
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 550 ratings.