1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

190 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 190
Reviews: 68
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 64
Gots: 116 | FT: 9
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Burgandy wax.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-08-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 190 | Reviews: 68 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of portia99
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2011, bottle 1447) that is breaking in my CBS snifter. Very big thanks to Arbitrator for going above and beyond and facilitating my receipt of this fine beer. Been thwarted a couple of times in opening this, so really been looking forward to it.

A - Pours a very, very deep brown color. Clarity looked good on the pour, but in the glass not a shard of light passes thru, even towards the edges. A finger of creamy and dense dark tan head sits atop the beer for a good long time. Head slowly falls but continues to leave behind a thick and creamy collar and thin surface layer. Rings of foamy lacing coat the glass.

S - Brandy is noticeable up front, sweet, sugary, a bit of dark fruit, hints of vanilla, light booze, some dark roast underneath, light milky chocolate, maybe some cherries. Lots going on in here, but still remains balanced and the aromas mesh together quite well.

T - Quite fruity up front as the sip hits the tongue. I'm getting cherries and brandy up front. This fades slowly into a mild boozy presence in the middle which then drifts towards a chocolate assault. Milk chocolate mixed with some darker and more bitter chocolates blend together...I almost get the impression of a Black Forest chocolate cake topped with milk chocolate frosting, dark chocolate shavings and the great faintly noticeable cherry schnapps mixed in...dip that in a brandy reduction and the picture is complete. Dark roasty flavors including a bit of coffee lingers past the swallow well into the aftertaste. To me, this really comes across as a rich dessert in a glass.

M - Medium to full bodied, smooth and a bit frothy carbonation gives a bit of a milk shakey impression. Really well controlled booziness here. There is a noticeable warmth and liquor impression from the brandy barrels but not even close being described as overpowering or totally dominant...rather, the barrel complements the base beer nicely and only enhances. I'm gonna call the mouthfeel here close to perfect.

O - After hearing so much about the Eclipse "family" of beers, and never having experienced any of the versions before, I had high expectations coming into this, especially since the brandy version seems to be considered one of the best varieties this year. All I can say is that I am definitely not at all disappointed. Probably helps that I really love brandy straight or in a good dark roast coffee so perhaps this was set up for success with me. At any rate, this is definitely up there with my stouts of all time...here's hoping that the other varieties at least are in the same ballpark as this one is for me.

Photo of Stigs
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of kmatlack
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #2957 vintage 2011.

A: pours dark, not the darkest black but definitely dark. Light khaki colored head pours a half finger, sticks around for a little bit and settles down atop the surface of the beer. Not much lacing.

S: you get blasted with sweet brandy at first, the barrel presence is strong here. I've heard others say that the brandy was barely noticeable but it's here in this bottle. That's for damn sure. Tones of honey, cinnamon, chocolate, dark fruits, figs, a little coffee, and more chocolate. In a strange way, it smells of a plethora of different kinds of chocolate. Bakers chocolate, dark, coca nibs, milk chocolate. Crazy!

T: the taste follows the nose here. Front palate is sweet honey and chocolate, the brandy is prominent as well. Mid palate the sweetness dies down and the roasty, smokey, coffee flavors start to shine through. On the back/aftertaste there is still a ton of sweetness, getting kindof old, but the lingering coffee and charred oak isn't. Wish it was a little less sweet, but it's fresh, so I understand.

M: big thick stout, chewy mouthfeel. Alcohol masked well, but still present.

O: an amazing BA imp stout. Is it worth $30 a bottle...? Yes and no. Maybe for a special event, this is definitely worth it. Everyday, no. I can't wait to try the rest of the series.

Photo of cthomas78
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of treyrab
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the Elijah 18 a few nights ago, so I figured I would try the Brandy version to see how it stacked up against what most were saying was the best of this year's varieties. Well, in my opinion, the Brandy was the better beer. Here is why:

A: Took at least 10 minutes to get the wax off. Easily three layers of thick wax coated the top of this bottle. Had to get out the knife and chisel away. Once that was over, it poured into a snifter a nice rich black. A rather aggressive pour yielded a one finger creamy mocha head that retained itself for quite a while. Very nice.

S: Much more integrated than the Elijah 18. The Elijah smelled rather sweet, with an intense blast of bourbon. The Brandy here, was much more mellow, but with noticeable scents of nice brandy and roasted malts. The roast here is plays a larger factor than the Elijah. Also, this does not smell as sweet. Contains more chocolate than the Elijah as well.

T: Rich, complex brandy melds gracefully with the dark, bitter bakers chocolate and roasted malts. Nice creamy milkshake with brandy, malted milk balls, and some cocoa powder. Rather dry compared to the Elijah.

Overall, this was one hell of a beer. My girlfriend and I both agreed that we liked this better than the Elijah (but both were great).

Photo of Phelps
4/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Photo of biniek13
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of FeelinSurley
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of mulder1010
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased by me

A-- Dark cola and settled black. Just touches of ruby at the base and at the collar. Original head was two fingers of a slightly orange mocha colored head. Fell to just above film through drinking. Good head retention and lots of lines and spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Soft at first and quickly sped up. Brandy, green apple, cherry, oak, vanilla, molasses and plumb. More fruit driven at first and then changed to more of the darker fruits and barrel characters as got more air.

T-- Mirrors the smell a lot. A lot of brandy through each sip but more and more a lot of molasses, oak, coffee and brandy. Early on were cherry and apple notes. Slight amounts of hoppiness to this early on but after a few sips and air the barrel notes took over.

M-- Thin body and dominated by the barrel. Lots of molasses and plumb. Slightly slick and oily but finishes pretty clean and a big brandy finish with molasses, cherry, oak, chocolate and vanilla. Medium carbonation and lighter body for the ABV.

O-- ABV is well hidden through drinking until the end and it creeps up on you in a big way. For a rather thin body the barrel does a lot for the beer. Lots of flavors in this and pretty easy to drink. Solid, solid beer and worth seeking out. Just give it time to breathe.

Photo of wagenvolks
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JRod1969
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of mikeyv35
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date: 01/08/2012
Vintage: 2011 Brandy BA(Burgundy Wax)
Type: 22oz. Bomber #1805
Glass: Snifter Glass

Received this beer in a trade from fortsambo, thanks! Decided to crack this brew for the Steelers wildcard playoff game, needless to say the brew turned out better than the game.

Poured a dark black in color w/ a 1 finger tan head that left medium amounts of sticky lacing. One knock was it appears a tad thin for the style, but it is barrel aged. The nose was aromas of brandy, oak, molasses, dark chocolate, and brown sugar. The taste was about the same, starting off w/ brandy sweetness, followed by big oak, and finishing w/ molasses/dark chocolate a touch of hop bitterness and charred malts. Full bodied and lush. The flavors really stick to the palate. For the style this brew is very drinkable as I almost polished off the bomber myself, but then again it was a very close game.

Overall, this brew was excellent and I would happily drink another bomber in the future.

Photo of fnoffagain
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of sideshowe
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of ChrisPro
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
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

Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of mcallister
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep burgundy engulfing all light with a large frothy tan head holding fantastic retention leaving chunky dollops of lace.

Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and some dark fruit aromas dominate the nose. Light brandy like grape notes, hints of wood with a leathery note deep in the back.

Thick creamy, fluffy and slightly sweet. Fudge, milk chocolate, cocoa, very light brandy and wood notes, alcohol burn in the chest. Layered black fruits, heavy cream, cherry, currant, berry, light leather component, caramel, and more. Very nice but would have liked some more barrel character.

.

Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of furthurgone
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of MrTopher
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Retail1LO
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a waxed bomber into a 22 oz. (LOL) Founders CBS snifter. There's nothing like being able to pour an entire bomber into a snifter at once. Pours an anthracite kinda black with a caramel foam that rises to the width of your pinkie finger. The nose is lovely A bit boozy, with a nice shot of grapes. The brandy treatment is indeed evident here. The taste reveals a tight mirror of the nose. There's a winy, floral, and dark fruit them to to the taste. It truly is lovely. The ABV is well integrated. The mouthfeel is incredible. Smooth and creamy, without the slightest lingering aftertaste. It's gone instantly. When you swish this around in your mouth, it foams up nice and thick and feels so wonderful on the tongue. It also releases the full flavor of this beast. What's awesome about his beer, is that if feel more than comfortable tackling it on my own. Feel free to be selfish with this one. Share at your own peril.

Photo of scottfrie
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from 22oz bottle poured into snifter (on New Years eve) supplemented by notes taken from the tap version consumed at the release.

A: Pours a very dark near black with reddish edges beneath a finger of dark mocha brown head that bubbled away into a thin wispy film.
S: Sweet, almost fruity smelling, with notes of rich malts, green apple and boozy brandy barrel.
T: Sweet like the nose with strong notes of brandy. The barrel really dominates in this version. I get notes of dark fruit, chocolate, molasses, vanilla and a hint of cola as well. Sweet yet spicy at the same time. The finish is woody and full of vanilla, and the aftertaste is full of brandy all the way. As this beer reaches room temp the brandy comes out even more and the fruit isn’t as strong.
M: Medium-thick body that is full but not the fullest, boozy but smooth mouthfeel with even carbonation.
O: The bottle seemed fruiter than I remember the tap version being at the release. This is definitely a brandy lovers beer. Rich and strong but very easy to sip on. Definitely not the smoothest or richest of the different Eclipse treatments, but this is one of the better ones.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
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).

Photo of largadeer
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of emaciated
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel Blend from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.