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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

548 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 548
Reviews: 153
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 8.28%
Wants: 318
Gots: 272 | 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: 548 | Reviews: 153 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of roblund
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

roblund, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of NorCalYeti
4.26/5  rDev -4.7%

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

NorCalYeti, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of wordemupg
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

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

wordemupg, Oct 06, 2012
Photo of peacebone116
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%

2011 vintage, bottle no. 3470. Poured into Delirium snifter at cold cellar temp.

A: Deep brown--almost black, with tan highlights. The coffee foam head recedes quickly with a little hiss.

N: Notes of coffee and sweet hot bourbon bellow forth at the rim. Further back, hints of chocolate, coffee, coconut and fresh fig and honey waft up.

T/M: The tastes follow the nose, with the addition of sweet caramelized sugar. The beer is hot and boozy, but not too heavy or syrupy. The carbonation is perfect, reminding you that, although there is a bourbon presence, this is in fact beer. There is a defined dryness to the beer, which compliments the heat.

Overall, the Eclipse is my favorite display of bourbon barrel-aged beer. Although this EC18 is the first Eclipse that I have reviewed, it is not my first one enjoyed. This version does seem to be a bit more hot than the others, which could imply that there is room to improve over time. I really like this one and look forward to future enjoyments.

peacebone116, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of claaark13
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

claaark13, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of sweemzander
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

sweemzander, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of ferrari29
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

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

ferrari29, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

UCLABrewN84, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

Halcyondays, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

xpimptastikx, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of orangesol
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Big thanks to Deuane for opening his newly purchased bottle for us to try. I was really looking forward to trying this one.

A - Pours black as night with a nice one finger tall tan head leaving light lace down the glass. A little light on the carbonation it seems...

S - Smells fairly similar to the 12yr. with a bit more barrel to it. Still has plenty of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee but the bourbon and oak have really taken this bottle over.

T - Starts off with a big dose of bourbon heat slowly giving way to a mix of sweet vanilla and chocolate and day old coffee grounds. Finish is pretty dry with plenty of oak tannins. Like the 12yr., I can only imagine how good this beer will be with some time on it.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderately low carbonation. Fairly similar to the 12yr. in that has a smooth body, maybe a bit more booze and tannins in this version.

O - This one was pretty good, although not as good as the 12yr. I still have one of these in the cellar and I look forward to revisiting this one in the future.

orangesol, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of TheJollyHop
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

Poured an opaque black into a wine glass.

Scents of vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel sweetness, dark chocolate, and wisps of roast.

On the palate the alcohol is very well integrated. Creamy, carbonation is at a medium level, with a nice lingering flavor of dark chocolate and bourbon. This beer is extremely rich, and the Elijah Craig 18yr really adds depth without distracting from the flavors of the stout itself. Overall the desire to continue to drink this beer only increased as the the beer warmed up.

A pleasure to drink and well worth the purchase; definitely meant to be shared with others.

TheJollyHop, Apr 29, 2012
Photo of axeman9182
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%

22 oz bottle of the 2011 vintage, courtesy of FunkyMacGroovin. This one was poured into my Duvel tulip.

The Elijah Craig 18 year treatment of 50/50 Eclipse pours an intimidating black. Maybe a finger of dark mocha foam slowly manages to come together atop the beer. There's barely any opportunity for head retention, or lacing, and as a result neither distinguishes itself. The nose is just a little heavy on bourbon, but what lurks behind that opening salvo of aroma is definitely intriguing. There's dark chocolate and vanilla and a touch of caramelized sugar and coconut. The flavor profile is definitely a bit smoother. The boozy bourbon, while still present, is muted. The caramelized sugar steps up along with vanilla to help fill the void, with a still solid dark chocolate presence, and coconut again lurking in the background. If anything, I just wish the chocolaty notes from the base beer shone through a little more. The body is full, and a little bit creamy, but not as flabby and heavy as some big stouts can be. It's pared with a subtle carbonation that leads to an overall great mouthfeel. This Elijah Craig 18 version of Eclipse is noticeably better than the Evan Williams batch that I tried a few months ago. It's impressively robust in flavor for a beer its size, and would have no problems hanging with a 12-13% stout.

axeman9182, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage, bottle #4016. White wax so I have the correct listing.

This is my third version of this year (EC 12 and BT blend) and fourth overall ('10 EW).

4.5 A: Black color. One and a half fingers of creamy tan head. Retention is good and a big ring of lacing is left. Like the others, this one looks good.

4.0 S: This is as smooth as the EC 12 was, but it's much more lively. First, the bourbon brings out the chocolate in the stout much like the BT blend did. The bourbon itself is leathery, mildly fruity, and earthy. Booze is in check and there are no signs of astringency or off-flavors. The barrel gives a soft vanilla that complements well. Soft roastiness from the stout. I very much like the aroma, but I still want more from the stout.

4.5 T: I must say I'm impressed with the taste. I expected all of the variants to be let downs due to the simplicity of the base beer, but this is too tasty not to love. The EC works magic in this. The strongest flavor is creme brulee with leather, melon, light dark fruit, and light earthiness. Slightly boozy, but it's actually a nice addition and super smooth. Soft roast and moderate chocolate from the base stout.

4.0 M: Hell, even the mouthfeel is better. It's the same medium body, but there's a noticeable increase in the creaminess. Good moderate carbonation. Super smooth.

4.5 D: I'm very glad to have had this and so far this is the only variant I've had that is worth what I paid. Very tasty beer. If the base stout was better, this would be a favorite of mine for sure.

DavoleBomb, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of AgentMunky
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

AgentMunky, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of dbossman
4.38/5  rDev -2%

Thanks again to a great tasting group!

A: Black with a thin head and nearly no retention on the head; some slight film for lacing

S: Really woody with some anise; really boozy; a touch of chocolates and lots of maltiness and a bunch of bourbon of course throughout

T: So rich and bourbony and woody and malty and spicy and licoricey--sorry, I'm just making up words left and right; there is also vanilla and dark fruits and pepper; delicious

F: Creamy and thick--great, nearly perfect mouth feel

O: This is a boozy, thick, bourbon-heavy awesome beer with subtle anise, which for me pushes it over the top; nice, nice beer

dbossman, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

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.

thagr81us, Jul 10, 2012
Photo of sukwonee
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

2011 vintage, white wax bottle, poured into a snifter

Bottle# 4659

A: Black body with 1 finger mocha head

S: Bourbon, oak, vanilla, brown sugar,

T: Follows the nose, bourbon, vanilla, bitterness from hops. I can't really taste the honey - very subtle. I would say this beer is on the sweet side compared to other beers in this ABV range but yet still a bit hot and boozy (in a good way). Very nicely done.

M: Smooth and sticky (maybe honey is contributing to this). Good amount of carbonation.

O: Excellent BA stout. This is the first bottle of 50/50 for me. I have EC 12 in the cellar that I will crack open next week.

Edit: After it warmed up, I do taste the honey.

sukwonee, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of Dope
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

2011 batch, bottle 882.

A: Pours pitch black with a mid-sized and dense medium brown head. Head fades slowly with great retention. Zero lacing.

S: Wonderful bourbon and chocolate aroma. Bourbon is pretty mellow. Strong aroma but just not a sharp, stinging aroma. Age has probably calmed it down a little. Caramel, brown sugar and toasted sugars. Lots of cocoa in there too. Hint of charred oak. A little stinging alcohol when swirled.

T: More bourbon up front, similar to the aroma in that it is strong but mellowed out. Smooth caramel and toasted sugars with some dark fruits here now. Good bit of dark chocolate floating around, especially as the bourbon fades. Strong dark fruits give it a chocolate covered raisin type flavor into the finish. A little bit of toasted sugar, dark fruits and a hint of oak in the aftertaste.

M: Nice medium-heavy body. Ultra smooth, mellow and viscous.

O: Interesting variant. I've had several others, fresh and aged and this is definitely unique. Bourbon is much mellower and smooth. That can probably be attributed to the age of the bourbon and also the age of the beer itself (which is now about 3 years old). Base beer comes out quite a bit now, with loads of dark fruits that you don't get in any of the other variants. Very distinctive raisinets flavor which is a nice touch. I'm not sure if I prefer the sharper, fresher variants - they are definitely a bit bolder but this one is easily the the best drinking. So smooth and mellowed out, it just drinks great.

Dope, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of woosterbill
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%

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
Photo of ehammond1
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

Bottle (2011)

Super Junior Market
San Diego, CA

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, without a lot of visible carbonation and not much head. Eventually, however, this does leave sticky spots and sheets of lacing down the glass. Quite pretty.

Lovely aroma, especially as the beer inches closer and closer to room temperature. The familiar coconut, bourbon, chocolate, wood, roast, and coffee elements combine here for something quite lovely. I can hope that all the other variations are similar, because this is wonderful!

The flavor follows similarly, with toasted coconut, chocolate, bourbon, and earthy vanilla flavors combining into something very special. There is hardly any trace of alcohol harshness. This is incredibly drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel with low carbonation. I think I would prefer it be a touch thicker, but I think the body of this beer actually adds to it's drinkability. I look forward to drinking a bottle of this with me, myself, and I.

Great execution of an often imitated style. That being said, these guys nailed it.

ehammond1, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of CooperEllis
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

22oz into Duck Rabbit snifter from Dajtai007 in a recent trade, thanks Daniel.

Great brew, really enjoyed all three phases here - first glass, through 3rd glass. As it warmed it opened considerably and a lot of the stout came forward.

Very creamy in the body despite a strong EC presence in the nose, and the taste. No bourbon in the body, not a hint of watery/oily - full bodied, creamy across the middle and crisp at the end with sharp bitterness and the caramel/alcohol flavors of the liquor.

The EC is strong in the nose, but there is also the strain of malt, a richness that comes through, a bit of bitter chocolate, slight dark fruit in the finish; dates.

(175th)

CooperEllis, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

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.

2378GCGTG, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of ShanePB
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

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.

ShanePB, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of rfgetz
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%

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.

rfgetz, May 14, 2012
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 548 ratings.