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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 BEERchitect
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2518/2011

It's not everyday that such a strong and lush stout crosses my path and commands so much attention. Chocolate, bourbon, malt, coffee culminate in a rich and velvety taste... so much finesse built into such a bullyish recipe.

Even as the most aggressive pour was administered in the decanting of the beer, there's an oily and inky viscosity that renders the head character of the beer dainty and creamy, much like the creme of espresso as a thin and intermittent sheet retains well and the lacing also sparse and broken. But it's the sheer thick aesthetics that give this beer its onyx-like sheen and brandy-like legging.

Absolute succulence emits from the glass with the first aromatic draw of the nose in the shape of chocolate, espresso, and bourbon. Caramel and vanillans are stripped from the barrel and delivered from the nose in firm and sultry fashion and seem to inform the malty-rich aromas of malted candies, heavy cream, and molasses. Alcohol and esters combine for the impressions of cherry, licorice, and vinous grapes but do so in much lesser intensity as other aromatics.

Flavors are even more savory and seductive than even the nose implies. As others have mentioned, a heavy taste of chocolate fudge becomes the dominant flavor that all others circulate about. Very chocolaty with melded flavors of molasses, walnuts, dark roast coffees, moderate roasted grains and heavy toast- the beer has a very rich taste but forbids the harsh dry roast that can sometimes prove too dry or harsh. The bourbon flavors sometimes remind me of sweet rums but the influx of woody oak, rich caramel, vanilla, mild coconut, and cherry-like alcohols allow for the alcohols to have as much a pleasant placement in taste as it would texture.

The low-lying alcohol allows the beer to coat the mouth evenly and fully which allows for full appreciation of flavor as the carbonation doesn't lift the liquid from the taste buds. Instead, the creamy, velvety, silky feel of the stout is felt in its entirety- covering the surfaces of the mouth like heavy cream. This highly robust texture has a long and lingering finish of growing warmth, slight heat, and malty richness. Dryness and drinkability doesn't come into play as this beer is a savory sipper to conclude the best of tasting sessions.

While any big stout can be highly roasty and boozy, it's the finesse of this beer that executes the balance of sweetness, bourbon, roast, and complementary chocolates and coffees that rise to such high proportions without introducing the any smoky, ashy, or rogue fusals that often become gremlins to otherwise formidable imperial stouts. There's only the slightly more flavor intensity of Bourbon County Rare Stout, along with the magical Pappy Van Winkle intangible wood-tannic character that keeps this beer from competing with the superior Goose Island varietal.

Thanks Ynot2

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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 KickInTheChalice
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: The beer itself has a dark brown hue with lighter, transparent brown edges. A small tan head forms on the initial pour but fades away without really leaving any lace.

Smell: The 18 year Elijah Craig comes through first, like my experience with the other barrel aged Eclipse beers. Molasses, vanilla, and oak are strong as well, with chocolate and coffee behind.

Taste: The Elijah Craig is a little bit more nuanced in the flavor. Dark chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee start a fairly strong imperial stout flavor. As soon as it starts turning sweet with vanilla and molasses notes, the bourbon and oak dry the flavor out and prevent it from moving too far in that direction. The bourbon really carries through to the finish. Interestingly, when I first tasted the Eclipse beers, I thought the flavor of the beer was quite strong, with the barrel flavor adding further depth. Now I notice the barrel flavor and feel the underlying stout might leave a little bit on the table.

Mouthfeel: For the style, the body feels to be in the middle of the spectrum. The carbonation is on the light side, trying to be creamy and smooth, but it could use some more carbonation.

Overall: This is another solid Eclipse that I am glad to have tried.

I am curious whether people who have given this beer such a great score have sampled it side by side with the Eclipse - Elijah Craig 12 year. There is not that big of a difference.

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Photo of korguy123
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 3268

A- Oily, midnight black pour with a finger width of short lived light tan head. Recedes to several swirls and gobs and a ring around the glass. Lacing is decent and the alcohol will not let go of the glass.

S- Bourbon, oak, slight char that mingles with coffee, brown sugar, espresso, molasses and a touch of licorice. The bourbon is mild and not overpowering. Smooth and warming in the nose.

T- Whoa mamma that is good. Right off the bat you get a super mellow, slightly warm bourbon followed by a light char taste and a touch of leather. Than the sweetness of vanilla and brown sugar kick in. Followed by bakers chocolate and a touch of coffee. There is a lingering bitter finish. The alcohol is turned way down in this. The bourbon really shines and lights the way for the rest of the beer to be as impressive.

M- Medium to full bodied. Creamy, velvety, smooth with a touch of carbonation and alcohol warmth.

O- This is remarkable. It's complex, and hearty and smooth and just luxurious. I set out to find any bottle of these variations and I think this was the one to get.

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Photo of jvillefan
4.73/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: An extremely dark beer with a half finger white head.

S: A very intensely bourbon-y aroma with a ton of malt character.

T: Very hot with dark malt, bourbon, and oak in the foreground ground of the beer. In the back ground of the beer there is a subtle mint character. The high alcohol is noticeable in this beer.

M: Excellent retention. A slightly undercarbonation beer but that is to be expected from such a highly alcoholic beer.

O: Get it.

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Photo of Hophead717
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black with almost no head. Light lacing.

S: Sweet bourbon, chocolate, fig. A strong and dynamic nose.

T: Chocolate and bourbon upfront. Strong dark fruits mid-sip, yielding to a mildly roasty finish with hints of bourbon.

M: Medium body, slightly slick. Not heavy.

O: Awesome BA stout. Well-integrated bourbon. The finish is a bit too roasty for my taste, but overall the beer really kills it.

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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 brotherloco
4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
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...

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Photo of oline73
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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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 billab914
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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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 Gfunk720
4.92/5  rDev +11.6%
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.


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Photo of mdfb79
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.04/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Photo of Azurescens
4.23/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of brystmar
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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

A - black, opaque, thin tab head that easily fades.
S - oak, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, almond
T - roast, dark chocolate, vinous / port wine, alcohol heat
M - thankfully, thicker than the 2010. Not syrupy but very thick
O - a great RIS. This is up there with Parabola and Black Tuesday in my top 3.

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Photo of Gary779
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #5209

A: Beer pours majestically black, and forms a huge tan coloured head. The head leaves quite a fair amount of lace. Beer seems to be pitch black, but closer inspection yields red edges.

S: The smell is deceptively dark. You can just smell that this beer is ultra-mellow and grown-up. Dark chocolate and cherrywood are quite dominant flavours, and finer inspection yields red apples, bourbon, vanilla, roasted coconut, oak, almonds and an alcohol presence.

T: This beer is extremely mellow on the tongue, just pleasing your taste buds to the point where they are reluctant to identify flavours. The bourbon presence can be felt, and is accompanied by oak, chocolate and cherrywood flavours. The alcohol is distinctly present, but not bothersome.

M: Very smooth carbonation coupled with a light mouthfeel makes this imperial stout very drinkable, but makes it feel a tad watery.

O: An extremely easy-to-drink beer. I had to throttle myself to take time for reviewing. This is saying quite a lot for an imperial stout, which tends to be a slow-drinking beer.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was enjoyed at a tasting that included 5 Eclipse variations: Elijah Craig 12 and 18, Four Roses, Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye, and Brewmaster's Grand Cru.

2011 Vintage Bottle #5450. $30 for a 22oz bottle.

A: All of them pretty much poured the same. Finger or two of brown to light brown head. The color is black with noticeable bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

S: The aroma is very similar, but more rich than the 12 year. Vanilla, chocolate, booze, and bourbon are just perfectly married here. Sweet, boozy, wonderful.

T: Very rich taste. The vanilla and chocolate are on a different level. Bourbon and booze take up big parts of the base of the taste. Honey is no where near as prevalent as it was in other variations. The booze is much more noticed than it was on the 12 year.

MF: Lighter body overall than I expected, and lower than average carbonation. Big booziness on all of them, with a warming alcohol feeling to finish. The dryness on the palate varies with the different bourbons. This one was thicker and boozier than the average of the variations.

O: Voted the best of the Eclipse tasting (albeit not unanimous). The balance just puts it up above the rest. Deliciously impressive.

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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 peacebone116
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

Shared this with Thorpe and Thorpette after they brought over a steak dinner recently (they're total ballers). Amy was holding and ogling my newborn son, so she drank hers with a crazy straw. Anywho...

The beer is dark brown with a nice beige head. Noticeably more carbonation than the Brewmaster's Grand Cru I opened recently.

Nice aroma - bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, oak. A lot of wood character.

The best of the series to this point, though I still have many to work through. Surprisingly pleasant notes of toasted marshmallow, coconut, vanilla. Really digging the subtle complexities at work here. This was served at 60 degrees, so many of the more delicate characteristics jumped out right away. Of course, bourbon, chocolate and oak are front and center, but the nuances steal the show in this beer.

Medium to full bodied with adequate carbonation. Still a bit on the low side. Silky and smooth on the palate.

A winner. I definitely recommend it.

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

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.


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