Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 548 | Reviews: 153 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -10.5%
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.
01-09-2012 18:24:14 | More by phichifiji00
4.03/5 rDev -9.8%
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.
08-22-2012 16:12:22 | More by claspada
4.04/5 rDev -9.6%
Bomber #4046 from 2011 poured into a matching Eclipse snifter. The brew appears a dark brown color with lighter brown seen around the edges. A thin film of khaki bubbles collects around the edge of the glass and leaves some spots of lace on the glass.
The aroma includes vanilla and caramel with a touch of fruity bourbon and toffee-like burnt sugars extracted from the barrel during aging. Some roast elements and a bit of bourbon accents that already warming fruity alcohol edge.
The taste has some raw woody elements and earth with oak barrel flavoring and an alcohol burn that is slightly raisony. Some earth and more solvent booze towards the back with a bit of herbal hop kick before blending into a roasty coffee-like aftertaste.
This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is smooth yet boozy and bitey. Dare I say the aroma is significantly better than the flavor but still very good and warming. A pleasantly complex sipper that is not showing its 2 years of aging at all.
10-21-2013 14:54:02 | More by stakem
4.05/5 rDev -9.4%
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.
03-10-2012 06:22:02 | More by Arbitrator
4.05/5 rDev -9.4%
2011 bottle aged a little over 1 year.
A - Black body, slim tan head.
S - Oak, vanilla , chocolate, boozy
T - A lot of bourbon, good amount of bitterness, chocolate, oak ,vanilla , molasses. Slightly harsh finish.
M - Medium to full, decent amount of carbonation.
Didn't enjoy this as much as the Elijah Craig 12 yr though they are very similar. After having the Rittenhouse Rye version, which was a lot smoother, this came off as a little harsh.
12-22-2012 18:51:52 | More by s1ckboy
4.08/5 rDev -8.7%
2011 bottle thanks to DJButters. Reviewed fom notes.
Brown hued black with a modest saffron head. Recedes to a resilient film and collar.
Coconut, liquorice bullets, candied apples and honey.
Marshmallow, toffee apple, liquorice bullets, refined oak and mild plastic. Finishes surprisingly dry.
Smooth, not remotely heavy, with silky carbonation. Lovely benign dry roasty finish.
Uncomplicated and highly approachable, with well contained barrel character.
04-19-2013 03:57:00 | More by spicelab
4.08/5 rDev -8.7%
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.
01-18-2012 02:16:19 | More by NittanyBeerFan
British Columbia (Canada)
4.1/5 rDev -8.3%
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.
05-14-2013 02:39:36 | More by Rutager
4.1/5 rDev -8.3%
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.
12-22-2011 17:53:14 | More by waltonc
4.1/5 rDev -8.3%
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.
12-28-2011 22:13:02 | More by womencantsail
4.1/5 rDev -8.3%
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.
10-24-2012 03:15:57 | More by corby112
4.13/5 rDev -7.6%
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.
12-30-2011 02:57:59 | More by srandycarter
4.13/5 rDev -7.6%
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.
06-23-2012 15:24:31 | More by Sean9689
4.15/5 rDev -7.2%
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.
02-13-2012 13:21:09 | More by Vonerichs
4.15/5 rDev -7.2%
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.
12-24-2011 18:41:58 | More by PittBeerGirl
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 548 ratings.