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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.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

568 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 568
Reviews: 155
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 8.05%
Wants: 311
Gots: 270 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 568 | Reviews: 155 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hanzo
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of Sparky44
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of thewimperoo
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

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

A: Oily and black with a thin light brown head. Tons of lacing down the glass. Really good stuff.

S: Rich aromas of coconut, milk chocolate, bourbon, toffee and fudge. I could smell this all day. Truly incredible.

T: Nearly as good as the aroma. Coconut and some chocolate sweetness upfront, caramel, some honey and a touch of roasted malt and coffee on the finish. The slightest touch of bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect. Slick and velvety without being syrupy. I love this beer.

Photo of oldp0rt
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of 22Blue
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of dfhhead25
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of wagenvolks
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Adamostella
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Beaver13
2.5/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bottle, bottle 3768 / 2011. Pours brown black with a small dark brown head that quickly foes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet molasses and dark fruits with a lot of sharp whiskey.

The flavor is roasted malts and sweet sugary dark fruits with a lot of sharp burnt alcoholic whiskey. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, it's too sweet and boozy for me. It does mellow some as it warms, but still very sweet.

Photo of seeswo
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of peensteen
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of 2beerdogs
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Arbitrator
4.04/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage (#4736). Poured from 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. Pours dark black with a medium tan head that quickly dissispates into a thin lacing that lasts well throughout. Aromas of roast nuts, some bourbon, brown sugar, and oak. Light Elijah Craig bourbon heat upfront in the flavor along some coffee and perhaps figs. There is a distinct sweet smell that is difficult for me to pinpoint. Slightly bitter back finish. Medium mouthfeel. Damn smooth and tasty beer. I will have this beer again and do want to try the other Eclipse variants.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of jampics2
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of DonFrap
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of BAsbill
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Resuin
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of jegross2
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Imperial Eclipse Stout (Elijah Craig 18 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Company out of California
Score: 97

2011 vintage bottle, number 4733. Served in a Kate the Great snifter, shared with Robbie Moy and enjoyed on 06/03/12.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a finger and a half of foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin layer atop the glass. Amazing lacing, amazing retention, excellent cling. 5/5

Smell: Super smooth, inviting and balanced. Rich milk chocolate, fudge, raisin and sweet vanilla. A modest amount of red licorice too. A lesser amount of caramel, touch of coffee and a hint of sweet honey. A lot of complex chocolate flavors dominate the nose. 5/5

Taste: Upfront is sweet chocolate and a little licorice, following by fig and raw chocolate. There's some nice honey sweetness on the midpalate. There's some fudge mixed in throughout, and some brown sugar towards the finish. Not a whole lot of vanilla, maybe just a hint. A lot less licorice in the flavor compared to the nose. Chalky sweet fudge flavor aftertaste. A really excellent

Mouthfeel: Not quite full bodied, minimal carbonation. Not quite oily, not quite creamy, not quite syrupy, but some combination of all three for the mouthfeel. Extremely dry, almost chalky, finish with mild chocolatey sweetness lingering. 4.5/5

Overall: This is a knock out imperial stout. At $30 a bottle, it is not cheap, but if you are going to drop that kind of bread on a beer this is exactly how you would expect and want it to taste. I would not hoard this beer, but I would absolutely trade for another to replenish my cellar before it's impossible to find.

Recommendation: Everyone should seek a bottle out.

Pairings: Poundcake or s'mores.

Cost: $30 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

Photo of Zbeetleman
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of sholland119
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle #5268.

A-Dark opaque brown black with a frothy black cherry mocha head that has great retention and good lacing.

S-Bourbon sweetness, lots of vanilla and oak but not overly boozy. Pretty approachable.

T-Reasonably hot but not unpleasant in any way. Lots of oak and toasted marshmallow, just a great bourbon character with a nicely flavorful stout underneath. I like the relative lightness of the stout but that it is still strong enough to hold its own with the barrel.

M-Medium bodied, not syrupy or cloying, heat is kept nicely in check.

O-Really excellent. Very well put together.

HV

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 568 ratings.