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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: 197
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 15.46%
Wants: 63
Gots: 110 | 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: 197
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 Knapp85
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew poured out as a very nice black color with a dark tan head on top. The lacing and retention were pretty good on this. The smell of the beer reminded me of fresh tobacco, with some sweet boozy malts and wood in the mix. The taste was very good, It's just got some quality levels that this goes through. Had some boozy heat with some thick creaminess to it in the mouthfeel, Overall this beer was quite good. I look very forward to trying the other two I have that are from different barrels.

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Photo of brentk56
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 884 of 2011

Appearance: Pours fudge brown with a modest head that leaves a nice smattering of lace

Smell: Fruity brandy aromatics with undertones of chocolate, caramel and licorice

Taste: The brandy flavors jut forward off the bat and blend delicately with the chocolate, fruit and licorice; the sweetness stays on an even keel with the chocolate and the alcohol; very smooth, but slightly sweet finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation; velvety smooth

Overall: One more Eclipse to go and this is the smoothest of the bunch; while I prefer Bourbon to Brandy, this is a really well done Brandy barrel treatment; it may not be the most complex but it sure is well-balanced

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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 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 largadeer
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is typical of Eclipse, pouring a clear dark brown that lies opaque in the glass, topped by a small but lasting head.

Fantastic nose on this one, bringing me back to that initial keg of Brandy Eclipse that was on tap at the brewery in 2010. Brandy is prominent, of course, contributing sweet fruitiness, brown sugar and creme brulee that's complementary to the roast, anise and dark chocolate notes of Totality.

Big brandy barrel flavors wash the palate first, fruity and sweet, lightly tannic. Licorice, dark fruit and brown sugar seem more prominent than the big chocolate notes I get from the bourbon barrel versions of Eclipse. The body is silky and full, carbonation at a moderate, gentle level. Not much heat, and mild in the finish with lingering sugary dark fruit flavors. The brandy barrels contribute little bite, making this one of the more accessible and easy drinking Eclipse variations.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in the 2012 Birthday BIF from futhurgone; Thanks Rob! Another want of mine…always excited for a new Eclipse beer. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Sierra Nevada XXX Anniversary tulip. 2011 vintage, bottle #1840.

a - Pours a pitch black color with one finger of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for four to five minutes and leaves an inch throughout drinking, with spotty lacing on the glass. Looks awesome.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malts, brandy, oak, molasses, sweet cherries, sugar, and some toasted malts. Nose is nice but quite sweet.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, sweet chocolate, roasted malts, cherries, fruity malts, brandy, alcohol, oak, light vanilla, cocoa, molasses, and toasted malts. Again, pretty sweet but I like it.

m - Full bodied stout and low carbonation, thick and chewy. The low carbonation makes this one super smooth and easy to drink, and there isn't really any alcohol heat. Very nice body for a stout; a tiny bit more carbonation and it would be perfect.

o - Overall I thought this was a good beer and another good Eclipse variant, though it isn't nearly as good as the other versions I've had so far (PVW, Evan Williams, 12 Yr EC, and Four Roses). I've thought those 4 were outstanding and this was very good. I guess it's because of the barrel, but this one is much fruitier and sweeter than the others, thought the body is nice. I liked it, but prefer my stouts not quite as sweet. Definitely worth checking out, but not if you can have one of the other 4 variants over this one.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Forget who shared this one, but thanks! Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - Surprisingly carbonated for an Eclipse. A half-finger of tan foam settles to some wisps, a thin collar, and a few spots of lace. Very dark brown body with a glint of red at the fringes of the glass.

S - Aroma is quite sweet in comparison to the Grand Cru I recently had - the brandy barrel is front and center, imparting some sweet red fruits, oak and light perfume flavors. Dark chocolate, anise, and roasted grains are in the periphery. Alcohol is better hidden than the Grand Cru as well.

T - The base beer shines through more substantially in the taste, with dark chocolate and roasted malts balanced by red licorice and fruity brandy flavors. Quite sweet mid-palate but finishes with roasty bitterness and a bit of spirit alcohol bite.

M - Full-bodied, lower carbonation, sticky and chewy. One of the heftier offerings in the series. Some moderate alcohol warmth in the finish - I doubt this is actually 9.5%, but it's nowhere near as hot as the Grand Cru was.

D - Not my favorite barrel treatment of Eclipse, but still a very enjoyable and somewhat unique barrel-aged stout. I'd have this again, but not at the ridiculous price it was selling for locally. If you like sweet and fruity imperial stouts, this will be right up your alley.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle share in Hoboken, NJ.

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some dark brown + burgundy highlights when held up to the light. The beer has a finger tall mocha head that reduces but has great retention properties with more than 50% surviving the time of drinking. Significant lacing is observed.

S: The smell of this beer is quite sweet with the brandy aroma from the barrels it was aged in - this really dominates the smell of the beer. Additionally there is some dark roasted malts, oak, and chocolate.

T: The flavor really follows the smell with the chocolate and brandy tastes in the forefront. There is a definite light oak taste in the finish.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy.

O: I really enjoyed this and think more brewers should consider aging in brandy barrels - it adds some nice complexity and great taste/smell to the beer. I could have sipped on this one for quite a while. Yum.

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Photo of stakem
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bomber #2396 poured into a matching Eclipse snifter. Consumed immediately after the Christian Brothers Brandy version. The bree appears a dark cola brown thats lighter around the edges. Some big bubble formation rises atop and collapses before really forming any significant cap. Legs of clear alcohol coat the glass.

The smells contains chocolate and raisony alcohol. A little earthen with roast and suggestions of coffee. The barrel presence is mild with a bit of fruity tang and soft vanilla-like oak with a hint of spice somewhat like cinnamon.

The taste is boozy like chocolate covered raisons and a bit of fruity alcohol. Some soft vanilla blends into raw oak and some lingering woodiness. The bitterness is like day old strong coffee.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is complex, interesting and shows off the spirit seemingly moreso than the barrel that was used to age the brew. Having drank this after the other brandy version, there are some definite similarities but I actually liked the vanilla barrel presence on this one and the overall cleanliess/roast more than the single barrel.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with Paul yesterday.

The beer is dark brown, nearing black. Half inch of dense beige head. Looks like all of the other Eclipse stouts.

The aroma brings oak, booze, chocolate, roast. Smells nice.

The flavor is a small step up from the aroma. I would probably award aroma and taste each a 4.25 if possible. Nice balance of flavors, with a gentle sweetness imparted by the brandy barrel. Subtle notes of vanilla.

Medium bodied and easy drinking. A touch of heat in the finish. Well done.

Overall, another solid stout from FiftyFifty. I have enjoyed all of the beers in this series so far.

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Photo of billab914
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into my CBS snifter. Pitch black in color with a thin tan head scattered across the top and sticking to the sides of the glass. Good lacing as I drank it and a nice looking beer overall.

The aroma blends the chocolate and roasted malts with the dark fruits of the brandy barrel. They compliment each other very well. Some alcohol is noticeable, but not too bad. I really liked the rich dark fruits the brandy barrel added.

The taste shows more of the brandy barrel up front with some really nice notes or dark fruit and red wine to it. The finish is where more of the chocolate and and roasted malts come out. The chocolate in the finish particularly stands out. Again, it really comes together well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being average. Overall, I thought it was a great beer. The brandy barrel complimented the beer better than any other brandy barrel beer I've had. The rich dark fruits and chocolate went together perfectly. Very rich and bold, but also smooth and balanced for the style. Great beer overall.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage from secret Santa Alex M, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black with a nice sized tan head that slowly dissipates to a cap on top with a moderate amount of lace on the sides. Smells of roast and chocolate with a heavy hit of molasses and dark fruits. Cherries, plums, raisins and a touch of alcohol round out the nose nicely. The flavor is lots of milk chocolate and coffee with a hint of smoke. Subtle supporting flavors of vanilla, dark fruits, tangerines, and a hint of wood. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet silky mouthfeel. I really enjoyed this eclipse version. The Brandy gives it a much softer barrel treatment than the bourbon barrel I last had.

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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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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 TheSevenDuffs
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. #1710. Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Poured dark brown, settled black. As it poured there was a brown/red glow in the beer that is reminiscent of brandy. Half a finger of light brown head formed and quickly receded to a thin layer.

S - Brandy, oak and a touch of vanilla up front. Sweet roasted malts and molasses provide sweetness and roasted coffee, dark chocolate and char balance out the nose. The brandy is not dominant bit is noticeable.

T - Brandy up front with oak, sweet vanilla and cocoa. A fairly prominent overall sweetness is present and is balanced by a nice hop profile, warming alcohol and bitter coffee and cocoa. The finish is full of roast, char, dark chocolate, molasses and more coffee. Remarkably balanced. All of the flavours come through with no one flavour dominating the palate.

M - Full body, creamy and smooth. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to dsgolovin for throwing this bottle in as an extra.

2011 Vintage
Burgandy Wax
Bottle Nr. 3080
22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a very nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice one-finger thick cream dark tan head, lots of sticky lacing, but disappear to some oil slicks. The nose is big on malts, sweet, picking up slight brandy notes, lots of chocolate/toffee, vanilla. The taste is very nice malty, sweet, some vanilla, tons of chocolate/toffee notes, and a very nice touch of brandy that makes it pretty interesting. Medium body, ABV hidden pretty well, but definitely a sipper. This is my first FiftyFifty brew, and enjoying it very much. Thanks David!

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Photo of corby112
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle # 1446, 2011 vintage.

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears pitch black in the glass with a one finger beige head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Roasted, smoked malt aroma with a decent barrel presence that seems to be nicely integrated into the base beer. There's some toasted oak, vanilla and coconut but the spirit/brandy is much tamer here than in the other treatments. Some boozy brandy sweetness but there's room for the strong malt presence to shine. Pretty robust smelling with smokey charcoal along with roasted coffee bean, oatmeal, toast and dark chocolate. Decently balanced but the brandy presence could be a touch stronger for me.

Full bodied with a stronger barrel presence than I anticipated. Sweet brandy and vinous dark fruit notes along with dry, toasted oak and vanilla. Still, it's nicely integrated into the flavors of the base beer and doesn't overpower the roasted dark malt flavors. The oak compliments the robust malt and the brandy sweetness counters hints of burnt toast, espresso, oatmeal and chocolate cake. Really well balanced and the ABV is excellently masked, with little to no heat.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened again on 10.28.13

A - Pours a dark brown with a tan head that fades slowly.

S - Sweetness, then bourbon and bitter chocolate.

T - Sweet brandy, chocolate, roasted malts. Nice.

D - Good carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Swwet and drinks very easy. Great version.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got to have a sneak peak of this while helping out with bottling. Then had 2-3 samples the night of, one of my favorites (the brandy always is). Dark pour, tan head, 1/2" in height.

Aroma was just awesome. Best smelling Eclipse, even better than last year's. More complex, higher on the chocolate, vanilla and smoke, less on the brandy sweetness. This was chunkier.

Taste, pretty damn good, easy to drink, silky without the sweetness. There's still sweetness, and probably more than any other version other than the rye, but its more of a brown sugar kind of sweetness, which is a little more tolerable with the other flavors in this kind of beer. The base beer (Totality) seems like its roasted qualities are on better display in this barrel. That is one base beer that doesn't get enough stroking.

When I want to convert or expose people to something they wouldn't think they might be into dark beer wise (you know the I don't drink any dark beer types) I break this out, tell them I hate Brandy, but I love what it does here. More often than not, people have their eyes opened. Can't wait to open a bottle of this. Possibly even better than last year's (a tough burden to overcome).

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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 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 maximum12
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another in the series of one of my favorite barrel-aged bunches. What better way to clear out the Town Hall goodness than one of the pyramids of BA madness? Bottle #2978, split with the wife.

Heh. Pours typical big black bad; more head than most Christians, uh, what? Nose on this is spot-on as advertised, brandy, dark maltish, chocolate. Niiice.

Brandy Barrel Blend is just lovely. Long chocolate milk with a shot of brandy, just like Santa ordered. Tingly sweet malts. Roast, vanilla, heavy dose of oak in the back-fill. Really easy to drink, this is a barrel-aged session beer.

One more winner in the series, this is a huge improvement over the 2010 version, in my exalted opinion. Excellent beer.

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Photo of popery
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #1379, 2011. It's quite black, only showing brown when fairly thin. Small head, beige. The aroma has dark chocolate, molasses, vanilla, roast and a sweet brandy note. The taste is sweet and rich. It's nice big stout and packs a lot of flavor. The barrel flavor is relatively mild and blends into the roast, molasses and dark chocolate. There's some roast-bitterness to tone down the sweetness. Very tasty stuff. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick. It's a heavy beer, full of flavor. I'm a big fan of Eclipse. This isn't up to the Christian Brothers brandy version, but all of the Eclipses are quite good. My only real criticisms of this beer is that it could use more barrel flavor and a bit more depth. However, they're minor complaints, and I quite enjoyed the bottle.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a light chocolate brown head. In the aroma, oaky and a sweet brandy/ bourbon like alcohol. In the taste, sweet roast, alcohol of cognac and bourbon. Quite smooth and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry brandy like alcohol aftertaste. WOW! what a nice sipper, big alcohol heat on this one.

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