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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel Blend - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel BlendImperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel Blend

Educational use only; do not reuse.

68 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 68
Hads: 196
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 9.18%
Wants: 63
Gots: 111 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Burgandy wax.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 68 | Hads: 196
Photo of HopHead84
2.96/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5


2011 vintage into a snifter.

A: Black with an enormous frothy light brown head. Great retention and lots of lacing. Nice looking beer.

S: A lot of Totality and a mellow barrel presence. Anise, licorice, oak, molasses, and a lot of roasted malt. Just a little vanilla and brandy. Pleasant coco notes.

T: Rich dark chocolate with a fair amount of booze and roasted malt. Heavy on the licorice and roasty bitterness. Subtle brandy and dark fruit with a touch of vanilla. Lots of booze and bitterness in the astringent roasted licorice finish. When the beer warms up it begins to taste like Robitussin.

M: Full body with medium carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel with alcohol warming.

Overall: Not a fan of this. The combination of licorice Robitussin and brash alcohol did not make for a pleasant drinking experience. I won't be finishing this bottle.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.01/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

650 ml bottle. 2011 version. Pours a dark brown with a small tan chocolate head that has good retention and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is big brandy, some plum, light oak, a hint of marshmallow, and a quite boozy. The taste is sweet with brandy, marshmallow, some light roastiness, a bit of oak, and a lot of alcohol. The finish has a decent bitterness and is quite astringent. Medium body. Low carbonation. This was quite disappointing. It was very boozy and the flavors did not come together all that well. The astringency also took away from the beer.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.3/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Doesn't appear completely black, although light seems to have a tough time passing through it. Thin head like all the Eclipses I've tried so far. Swirling produces a tan cream that fades right back down quickly. Beer itself looks thin as well.

S: Sweet brandy, mixed with some heavy booze. Some nice chocolate and cherry, but not much as far as the base stout goes. Easy to pick up the barrel and some vanilla/oaky aromas.

T: Easily the smoothest I've tried of the series so far, but that doesn't necessarily help the stout. Comes off sweet and lacks roastiness until late where a small amount of bitterness creeps up. Reminds me of a jar of brandied cherries, with some chocolate aftertones.

M: Thin, big shocker there. It's smooth, but finishes boozy and almost with a tart cherry thing going on. Perhaps these are just familiar brandy flavors to me.

O: Everyone knows these beers aren't worth the price, but can't help but buy them. Gotta catch'em all. Not my favorite variation without question. Too sweet and lacks the stout underneath.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.56/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage, bottle #1727. Burgundy wax so I have the right listing.

4.5 A: Black color. Nearly three fingers of creamy/frothy light brown head. Retention is good at first and gets great for the last half finger. Tons of lacing is left behind.

3.5 S: The brandy brings out the chocolate in the base beer quite well. Otherwise, earth and lightly vinous brandy persists. Not much else going on though aside from a light roastiness.

3.5 T: Tastes like the nose. Big chocolate. Vinous, fruity brandy. Light roastiness.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Light creaminess. Boozy finish and aftertaste.

3.5 D: This is a pretty good brandy barrel stout, but I'd prefer a more sturdy stout that this.

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Photo of Treebs
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage, bottle # 3138. Burgundy wax. 22 oz. bottle served in a Firestone Walker tulip.

A: Pours a dark black body with dark brown edges. A one finger height of tan head forms on the pour and slowly recedes to a thin cap. Sticky sheets of lace down the glass.

S: Sweet brandy on the nose with nice unsweetened chocolate. Toasted grains. Raw oak and some subtle dark fruits.

T: The taste is much more oaky than nose. The brandy is there, but seems a little disjointed from the base beer. The finish is sweeter with some chocolate and roasted malts, but it seems like the beer is in two parts.

M: Medium bodied with a slight chew. The alcohol is slightly overbearing, even at 9.5%. Not really well hidden. The finish is a little astringent.

O: The taste was a little disjointed and the alcohol was a little too prevalent. Not the best of the Eclipse series. Would pass over this in the future.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, (?spycow?)! Poured into Darkness tulip.

A - Pours black, light mocha-colored head, thin collar.

S - Chocolate, light booze, light roast. Not overly complex here, yet still enjoyable. The booze isn't too much and the sweetness is spot-on for me to enjoy. Just pretty straight-forward -bal.

T - Similar to the nose. Chocolate, smooth booze, oak. No real roast or caramel, but the sweetness and booze are enjoyable and work well together. No barrel notes, and it's hard to pick out anything but sweetness, chocolate, and brandy booze. Again, solid but not blowing me out of the water.

M - Medium to full body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - A solid barrel-aged stout and a nice variant in the horizontal. That said, I'm more of a fan of the Buffalo Trace then this one, and will score accordingly. Good, give it a try.

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Photo of jonvan04
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After trying the Rittenhouse Rye version of this beer, I was excited to try this since I loved the other and have never had a brandy barrel aged beer before.

This beer poured black with a 1/4 inch tan head.

The aroma was of dark fruits, cherries, chocolate, and wood.

The taste was very much fruit forward with some chocolate flavors blended in. I didn't detect as much flavors from the barrel but definitely got a lot from the brandy. The fruit and brandy flavors seemed to almost enhance the bitterness in the finish as the hops were much more detectable than the Rye barrel version of this beer.

This would be great for somebody who loves chocolate covered strawberries. This was a nice mix of the fruit and stout flavors, however after having tried it I think I'll stick to the other versions of this beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of rich black chocolates notes with some light soy sauce notes and quite a bit of residual sugars is different than the other BA Eclipse. Taste is also a good mix between some rich black chocolates notes with some light soy sauce notes with quite a bit of residual sugar notes. Body still has the nice creamy and oily texture with good carbonation. Interesting but I found the sweeter side to his varieties less interesting.

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Photo of cps98
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brandy Barrel Aged version with the Burgandy wax. Got this one in a trade with ShanePB, thanks man it was super tasty now I want to try and score the other variations of this. Enjoyed this past weekend with a couple friends enjoying the great outdoors.
Pours a deep black with a nice creamy mocha colored head. Fantastic lacing on the glass, the beer just clung to the sides of the glass when swirled around. Smells of coffee, oak light hints of dark berries, figs maybe some plums were all intermingled. It was a really nice full bodied smooth beer. Carbonation was fantastic. It was a little more mellow in the taste department compared to other BA stouts I’ve had (not overy complex). Light hints of coffee and chocolate along with oak and a little alcohol were all present on the tongue. I was hoping for more brandy. This beer was a really good mellow BA variation and I believe all who were tasting wish we had more. I hope I get the chance to try the other variants at some point!

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz into goblet.

Beautiful looking beer. Short coffee ice-cream-colored head over a deep, opaque brown body.

Decent aromas that won't knock you over. Strangely, the first thing I picked up was concentrated apple juice. Cocoa, caramel, and a touch of char round things out. The brandy fruitiness continues to dominate, though.

Flavors and mouthfeel make this pretty damn easy drinking for a brandy barrel aged impy stout. Vanilla is pretty prominent. Some sweet, creamy white chocolate, along with dose of black licorice, and a kiss of charred wood in the finish. Maintains its smooth mouthfeel throughout.

I just can't get enough of these, as I feel they're very well crafted. Glad I picked up two of each, even with the huge dent in my wallet.

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Photo of beerhan
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to kecarl7 for the set

A-Perfect jet black pour with a 1 finger mocha head. Very viscious and thick.

S-Lots of chocolate and molasses with some coffee and a hint of alcohol in the finish.

T-muddy dark chocolate and coffee. It tasted very nice but was lacking in complexity. Very little brandy shines through except for the end.

M-Super crisp and smooth, mild carbonation and very drinkable.

O-A little disappointed by this one but I do hope the other variations are better. This beer was delicious but just did not live up to the expectations. The brandy was too subtle and it just lacked a burn from the barrel.

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Photo of waltonc
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass top of the bottle cracked off as I opened this. Poured the beer through a colander into my Bruery tulip in hopes I don't ingest any glass. Pours dark brown with an inch of velvety head. Nice to see fifty fifty release this with appropriate carbonation this year. I was quite disappointed that the brewery knowingly released the brandy eclipse last year without adequate carbonation. Smells of nice toasty malt, brandy, vanilla and brown sugar. Flavor is really nice. Not too much char and roast (unlike my first bottle of EC 18 year eclipse). Sweet brandy, vanilla, and brown sugar. Body is fairly thick with nice velvety carbonation. So far no lass in my mouth. Overall, quite a good beer. I just wish the bottle didn't break upon opening.

Would I buy this again? No, not at this price point. Too many good beers available for considerably less cost per fluid ounce.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, 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.

The aroma is fairly sweet, with lots of maple syrup, bittersweet chocolate, brandy, roast, a bit of vanilla, and a hint of wood. This is far sweeter and much different than all of the bourbon variations, though it's also the least transformed in comparison to the base beer, Totality, which is already a fairly sweet stout.

The flavor is far more simple and less complex than the bourbon variations. The brandy, sweet chocolate, and roast make for a nice combination, but it lacks the depth I hope for in a barrel aged stout. Also, the honey is quite present and pronounced in this variation. That all being said, this stuff is still delicious--it's just that the other variations set the bar so incredibly high.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with low carbonation.

A fine beer, but a bit too sweet. I was hoping for more transformation from the barrels.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #1451. Served in a SAVOR wine glass, and split with Amyliz4.

Pours near black with a good light mocha head. Very bubbly and thin, receding to a thin cap fairly quickly. Collar throughout. The nose has distinct brandy notes pushing to the front. Some sweetness and oak, along with a mild cherry presence. A good portion of chocolate and a bit of booze come through more as it warms.

The flavor is focused mainly on the brandy, with a touch of oak and very light vanilla. Chocolate makes for a good base with a slight bit of roast. Slightly boozy. Medium-full body with a mild chewiness. Good body and nose, but the back-half and finish were a bit boozy and need to balance out a bit. Maybe a few more months for this before it reaches optimal drinking age. I look forward to revisiting this one.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a sampling glass. 2011 vintage. From notes. Reviewed 12 February 2013.

A: Pitch-black with cola edges and a light brownish head.

S: Sweet grapes and strong liquor. Deep and complex.

T/M: Bright and tasty, with a great soft aftertsate. Brandy is evident, grapes, but it's perhaps oversweet.

O: It's okay. Not my favourite. Stick to the whiskey barrels.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage enjoyed from an eclipse snifter.

a - nine more black. All eclipse beers are stunning...they have a gorgeous shine and a thin head that is gone quick leaving sparse islands of bubbles on the surface.

s - nose is really pleasant. Big bold chocolate infused with sangria. Deep fruit from the brandy. Way more fruity than the Christian bros one I tried not too long ago.

t/m/o - big lush flavorful brew. Big chocolate roast. The brandy adds an element of fruit and booziness. It works well but doesn't seem as silky as other eclipse beers...seems a touch fizzy, fizzy for an eclipse so it still is fairly smooth and goes down easy for such a big beer. Pulls off the brandy treatment well, but doesn't hold a candle to the bourbon variations in the series.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle I shared at jmgrub’s tasting.

2011 vintage. Bottle # 1502.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, cinnamon, and alcohol. Taste is the same with a medium roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good Eclipse treatment but I am not getting any real brandy aromas or flavors from it.

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Photo of ChrisPro
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Blind Beer #1 from sholland119

22 oz. bomber with a little remnant of wax, shared with a couple friends.

A - Black as night with a light tan frothy head. Good bit of lacing. Looks like we've got ourselves a stout. 4.0

S - Tons of cherry and plum on the nose. I think it's a bit cold and needs to warm...Little bit of yeast and maybe some oak. Touch of char...After some warming, the barrel aging really starts to shine. Even more fruit and I'm really thinking this is cognac. 3.5

T - Not much taste at first, but then a big hit of vanilla and coffee. Huge alcohol flavor. This is definitely barrel aged. I wouldn't 100% say bourbon at this point. Some good chocolate malt and a lot of fruit is showing up. Thinking it could be brandy actually. Much more caramel and sweetness as it warms. This reminds me of those chocolate covered cherries with the liqueur that my grandpa gave me as a kid. Good stuff....Also starting to remind me of cognac black hole (Pointed out by my buddy). This is definitely not bourbon. 4.5

M - Sharper carbonation than I would've expected, but not ridiculous. Pretty full-bodied, especially for being -bal aged. Definitely some heat here, we've got ourselves. After a number of tastes, the carbonation is starting to wear on my tongue a bit. 3.0

O - Delicious, delicious beer and great way to start things off, Scott. I would happily drink this beer again. Even with the heat, I find myself going back for more and more. This great brew gets better and better as it warmes. 4.0

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ipa247 for this one. 2011 vintage. Bottle #488. Shared with schen9303. Poured into a Cigar City snifter

Pours 1 finger, dense, light mocha head with moderate retention. Beer is dense, opaque black. Lacing is thick, stringy, with nice stick. Oily legs.

Nose is chocolate, fudge, sweet soy sauce, molasses, booze, and very subtle roasted malt in the back. Nicely aromatic but good balance too.

Opens sweet soy sauce, prunes, chocolate, and cocoa powder. Brandy presence emerges a bit towards the middle and sweetens this one even further. Fudge and roasted malt at the end give this a slight bitterness. Finishes sweet with some molasses and more cocoa in the aftertaste. Solid.

Medium body with light carbonation. Oily and warm in the mouth and warm going down. Moderately smooth with a hot finish and sticky, lingering aftertaste. Great body.

As far as the 50/50 Imperial Eclipse series, this is rather middle of the road. Still, that makes it a far-above-average imperial stout and definitely not one to miss out on!

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Photo of brystmar
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed during last night's bottle share. Thanks to rlmartin, rmjavanut, hoppymcgee, and whartontallboy for contributing to this 11-bottle Eclipse tasting!

This Brandy version was nicely balanced with a hearty roasted malt backbone that supported the brandy's sweetness nicely. Refreshingly balanced: not too much booze, not too sweet, not too roasty. Most of the other barrel varieties over-emphasized the barrel flavors, so the mix of flavors here was certainly welcome.

Overall, the '11 EC18 was our group's consensus favorite. But honestly, I was mostly unimpressed with the Eclipse variants. Bourbon County Stout is 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 Phelps
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sent by seeswo in the Blind Beers BIF. Poured from a bomber into a tulip and reviewed blind.

Pours dead black. The head is a dense, fuzzy medium tan that get to about a finger tall before fading to a fleece-like ring.

The nose bends crumbled cocoa with smoke and a smooth, date-like fruitiness. Sweet vanilla notes round out the rougher edges as it warms.

Tangy dark fruits take over the front of the flavor along with subtle anise notes and just a little chocolate. After the swallow, wood smoke rolls in, its bitterness amplified by notes of burnt bread, cocoa and toasted oak. Fairly high alcohol flavor. Little bit of spicy hop bitterness with lingering roast and fruity tang.

Medium-light carbonation rubs the tongue with tiny bubbles inside a soft, velvety body that’s not too heavy, not too light. Alcohol is big enough to numb the tongue and warm my cockles.

Well, hmm. The balance in this version of Eclipse is nice, but the brandy doesn’t impart much. Wish there was a bigger showing from the barrels.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 9.5% abv. Pours very dark brown, nearly black. Nice looking mocha head. Good retention for a big beer. A few patches of lace.

Chocolate and roasty notes up front. A bit of dark ripe fruit, oak and a soft brandy end.

Lots of chocolate, with some roasty components, but not overly harsh. Dry oak feel. Some brandy, and general boozy flavors, but still rounded out well. Some darker fruits.

Medium body, with a light, fluffy feel. Flavors are very well rounded. Nothing harsh or out of place alcohol is present, but not overwhelming. Nice beer.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle #3140. 2011 vintage. Thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a nice pitch black color. Some good tan froth and lace too.

(S)- A nice sweet but rich aroma. Plenty of caramel, toffee, raisin, and subtle chocolate covered bread and coffee ground.

(T)- Similar to the smell. An underlying sweetness to it with raisin, cocoa, and caramel. You can just tell this is brandy instead of bourbon due to the slightly larger sweetness behind it. I do find that brandy barrel aging does lend far more sweetness to some stouts as opposed to bourbon, but this one does keep it balanced well.

(M)- A nice smooth carbonation level. A rather nice balance as well even with a slightly larger overall sweetness level. Rich and sweet but it does have nice subtle barrel character to help with its balance.

(D)- Like I mentioned before, I do find most of the brandy barrel beers I have tried to be a bit too sweet sometimes for my liking, however this one pulls it off quite well: smooth and balanced. I am looking forward to trying the other variants as well.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, 2011 vintage, bottle # 3091
Mini nonic pint glass (4oz)

A: Pours a deep black color. Completely opaque. Some carbonation because I got a half finger of slightly tan head. Not a ton of lacing. Slight alcohol feet. Lots lacing.

S: Getting lots of that brandy barrel on this one. More than what I have read in other reviews. Lots of dark fruit and candied sugar. Overwhelms the roast.

T: Lots of dark fruit sweetness. Heavy prune. Rum soaked raisin. Then you get that roasted malts. This is completely different then the other variations I have had where it was more vanilla, caramel, oak, etc. Some what dry finish.

M: Medium leading to full.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours black with a heaping big head of dark tan foam, nice thick lace.

S: Has that familiar brandy barrel character which I like so much, fruity with dark chocolate and a hint of smoke.

T: Very grapey, this entered my mind on the first sip. Solid flavours, lots of dark malt character, hints of vanilla and smoke.

M: Full-bodied, frothy yet biting carbonation. Nice finish.

O: Another solid Eclipse beer. They're good that's for sure, but is 'good' enough to qualify the price point, that's still up in the air.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel Blend from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.