Imperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel BlendImperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend

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very good

55 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 55
Hads: 211
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 74
Gots: 95 | 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 12-08-2011

Yellow wax.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 55 | Hads: 211
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #643. Served in a snifter. Thanks to FedEx for zipping this bad boy to me at record speed. Assist to yourefragile.

Pours near-black with a sizable medium-tan head. Good retention and really nice lacing for an imperial stout. Good collar and a half-cap throughout. The nose carries loads of chocolate with a good dosing of bourbon. Light vanilla and oak in the background. Quite smooth. The flavor has a bit of booze and more of the barrel, but still quite nice. Medium-full body with good carbonation. Slight roasty bitterness to the finish along with just a bit too much booze. My first of the 2011 Eclipses. Very impressive so far.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 batch. I didn't care for this version on tap, but found it much more enjoyable from the bottle.

Pretty standard Eclipse appearance: black with translucent dark brown edges. Perhaps a bit more carbonated than other versions, this pours with a fairly tall and lasting head. More fruitiness on the nose than any other Eclipse, surprisingly jammy and berry-like. Whiskey is present but subdued, and the chocolate and licorice Eclipse foundation seems more mellow than other 2011 batches. The palate mirrors the nose, exhibiting pleasant berry-like fruit flavors along with very mellow, integrated bourbon, mild roast and a touch of cocoa. There's no heat to this one, and it may be a bit too tame for its own good, bordering on uninteresting. It's a very well made and drinkable beer all the same, certainly not my favorite of the 2011 batches but still quite good.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, with the yellow wax seal, BR 1 of the 2014 vintage, and 11.9% ABV.

This beer pours a solid apocryphal black, with the barest of basal cola edges when pressed to the light, and three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and somewhat bubbly tan head, which leaves some stellar fussy neighbour's hedge lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of dark bready, light toasted caramel malt, heady Bourbon notes - damp, oily staves, vanilla, grainy rye and corn whiskey - rich bittersweet chocolate, cold coffee, sharp black licorice, a wee wet nuttiness, and tame earthy, weedy hop bitters. The taste is big and chocolaty up front, of the milky variety, with some dense caramel/toffee sweetness, a kind of receded, but still rather prominent Kentucky whiskey character - sugary vanilla, oak, and more corn than rye - candied black licorice, cafe-au-lait, and ethereal earthy, musty hops.

The carbonation is quite understated in its mostly hard to pinpoint frothiness, the body a decent medium-heavy weight, and dead smooth, with a strong commensurate creaminess. It finishes sweet - both the chocolate and whiskey exhibiting some serious lingering strength.

One of the better instances of this barrel-aged series, and I have to judge this on its own merits, as I've never partaken of the guest Bourbon itself. Very dessert-like, what with all the softly roasted chocolate flitting about, and just the right amount of cozy booze warmth. Yeah, maybe getting this in the middle of a summer heat wave wasn't the best of ideas, but at least my basement is cool enough to enjoy the hell out of the rest of this bomber.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.96/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks for sharing, Steve.

Black in color with low carbonation and a small tan head. A really harsh booziness on the aroma. Astringent roasted malt and overdone in terms of the charred oak qualities with only minimal vanilla and chocolate character. The flavor is hot and heavy on the charred wood and roasted malt. Only mild chocolate with some hints of coffee. Just way too much booze to really be enjoyable.

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Photo of oline73
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at Capone's during Philly beer week. Poured into a 5 oz. snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours almost black with some red light coming through at the edges. There is a layer of off white head that goes away but leaves some lacing.

Smell: Sweet and smooth dark chocolate roast. Along with the chocolate notes, I'm getting some coconut, dark fruit, and bourbon.

Taste: Just as smooth as the smell. Chocolate and coconut with a slight roasty bitterness. The bourbon and coconut flavors are nice together. I thought this tasted almost as good as the 18 year version.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick, but less so than the 18 year. The carbonation is tingly and the finish is dry.

Overall: This is a very good and complex imperial stout. I liked the coconut note along with the bourbon and roast. I would have this one again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this bottle!

2011 vintage, bottle #664. If nothing else can be said about the Eclipse series, it does show how different barrels influence the same base. This one pours a deep black-brown (one that comes very close to approximating obsidian) topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises whiskey, buttercream, caramel, and vanilla. The barrel seems to block out any real sense of the stout within, but things still smell really good. The taste brings in more of the same, though now the stout asserts itself a bit more, though only through a somewhat light roasted-malt note. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth feel. Overall, a very nice stout, one that seems to have benefited from its year of closet-aging. Good times.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 11/17/12 notes at our big Eclipse tasting. Big thanks to Thorpe429 for bringing this one; thanks Mike! 2011 vintage bottle #643.

a - Pours a deep dark brown, almost black color, with an inch of two of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks great, like the others.

s - Smells of bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, toasted malts, light coffee, cream, and a little bit sweet. Lots of roasted notes and the sweet bourbon is wonderful in the taste, as is the mix of chocolate and vanilla. Awesome nose.

t - Tastes of sweet bourbon, swete chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, sweet dark fruits, burnt malts, cream, earthy notes. A little sweeter than the nose; still quite nice.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Body is similar to all the others, though a bit sweeter. No heat.

o - Overall a really great variation of Eclipse; one of my favorites of the tasting behind 18 year EC. Awesome nose, one of the sweeter ones in my opinion. Would love to have it again.

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

Served on-tap at Capone's during PBW 2012

A - Pours black with a decent one finger tall off white head leaving small trails of lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate fudge, warm bourbon, dark roasted malt, charred wood, dark fruits, vanilla, oak and possibly some coconut? A very nice nose.

T - Starts off with a big dose of fudgey chocolate and warm bourbon slowly giving way to hints of dark fruit, licorice, vanilla, oak and the ever present dark roasted malt. Finish is pretty sweet with a moderate amount of booze, lingering on the palate long after consumption. The charred wood / oak grow a little strong toward the end of the glass but it never gets in the way.

M - Big body and flavors with moderate carbonation. Not as much booze as I was expecting after having the base beer before this one but it still packs a punch.

O - This was my first time having one of the Eclipse's on-tap and it didn't disappoint. I have had most of the other Eclipse varieties and I would say this is just as good as those, although not my favorite.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe, thanks. Served in a FiftyFifty eclipse snifter, the occasion was right. Beer is dark black with a wispy brown head of small bubbles, minimal lacing, low carbonation, low retention.

Aroma is a little boozy and a little sweet. The roast comes through in this one more than the others. I like it.

Beer is medium in body, roasty on the end, a little sweet, a nice variant, close to one of my favorites of the night. I'd have this again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a FiftyFifty Eclipse snifter.

The beer is dark brown, nearing blacks porting a small, beige head that leaves a bit of lacing in its wake. The aroma offers booze, vanilla, chocolate roast. The beer is slightly sweet, with prominent barrel characteristics throughout. Nice notes of vanilla and chocolate. Medium to full bodied with a boozy finish. This variant is middle of the pack as far as Eclipse stouts. Overall, a tasty beer. I would have this again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with some transparency. Nice khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Bright, sharp bourbon. Oak. Chocolate. Boozy.

Taste - More chocolate. Lots of oak. Bourbon pushes into the finish. Dark chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Well carbonated.

Overall - Previous year Eclipses seemed to have much more barrel than this. Hmm.

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Photo of corby112
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, bottle #637. Pours a dark chesnut brown color that's completely opaque with a half finger beige head that immediately settles into a thin ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Slightly smokey aroma with a strong barrel character that's nicely integrated into the sweet and roasted malt notes of the base beer. Some spicy bourbon but the other barrel notes really stand out in the nose. Lots of earthy oak, vanilla bean, marshmallow and toasted coconut complimenting hints of coffee bean, toffee, toast and dark chocolate. Smells pretty nice but could use more of a bourbon presence.

Medium bodied but a bit thinner than expected with a stronger bourbon presence than the aroma suggests. Still, the barrel character is well integrated into the flavor of the beer without completely dominating the other notes. Some dry, toasted oak, almond and faint vanilla along with spicy, sweet bourbon lingering over the malt backbone into a dry finish. The smokiness from the nose I'd barely noticeable and it's a bit sweeter than expected with hints of chocolate cake, fudge, toffee and burnt toast. Good bourbon flavor with little to no heat. ABV excellently masked making it deceptively drinkable. Not very complex and the spirit presence isn't as strong as in some of the other treatments but it's still very enjoyable.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4



A: Black with a big frothy beige head. Excellent retention and lots of lacing.

S: The nose is mellow and restrained. It takes a lot of swirling and coaxing to bring out the various characteristics. There's a good deal of vanilla accompanied by oak, bourbon, licorice, and coconut. There's also a little banana which sounds odd but fits right in. Roast and chocolate are subdued. Alcohol isn't evident. I get some caramel as well as perfume-like floral notes.

T: The flavor is much more roasty than the nose, with faint dark fruit notes. Chocolate accompanies caramel and an upper low earthy bitterness. There's a little alcohol in there. Bourbon is light. Licorice blends with a touch of molasses and brown sugar.

M: Lower full body with upper medium body.

Overall: A nice aroma and a solid flavor make this enjoyable, but $25 is pretty damn steep. I might buy this again at $15, but definitely not at $25.

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Photo of John_M
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's during Philly beer week.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and considerable sticky lacing all around. The nose is impressive as well, as I pick up considerable bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla and light coffee. The flavor profile replicates the nose, dominated by the bourbon and milk chocolate (which works just fine for me, thank you very much). There's a hint of bitterness on the finish as well, which helps to dry out some of the sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium boided, with a long, somewhat boozy finish. Still, the alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile, and so drinkability is actually pretty good. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, in comparison to some of the other Eclipse beers I've had, but it's a minor thing, and is the only criticism I can think of.

A very nice beer from the folks at 50/50.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage. Yellow Wax. Bottle #606.
Poured in to snifter.

A - Very dark brown on the pour but settled black with a thin layer of light brown head.

S - Charred oak, sweet bourbon and vanilla from the barrel up front. Chocolate fudge, roast and sweet molasses.

T - A big oak presence up front with lighter bourbon and vanilla flavours. The barrel dominates, but the base beer comes through as well adding chocolate fudge, roast, char and sweet molasses.

M - Medium body, slightly chewy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.49/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Beverage Warehouse, Winooski, VT. Gold wax, Bottle 1/2013.

Poured into DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" purpley dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Frothy head holds nicely, with thick coating lace. Aroma is dark, sweet, and boozy.

Taste starts with rich and dark malts, dark fruit in the middle, and closes with tannins and tons of alcohol character, which mellows through with come vanilla barrel character. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good, as in I look forward to finishing the bottle. Glad I had the opportunity to have this, even if the price point is somewhat prohibitive. A Christmas gift to myself.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle #993 split three ways.

A - pours dark from with a few scattered dark tan bubbles that clinge to the edge.

S - I got lots of woody oakness and some chocolate and coffee.

T - Similar to the smell, I got more of the booze here.

D - A nice solid body and light carbonation.

O - I would be happy to drink this anytime, but not quite as amazing as some of the other barrel variations.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours out black with absolutely zero carbonation. None. Zero. Nothing. Nice chocolate aroma to it, very dark kind of chocolate seemingly.

More chocolate in the taste, very rich, decadent, much like some of the columbian chocolate they were passing around at the party. Good bourbon integration, mild wood flavor to it. Sweetness is mild, but chocolate flavor is massive. Everything is very good here except for the absolute flattest of flat beer hurts, most notably, the mouthfeel and appearance, but even the nose to a lesser degree I suspect.

Was told not to worry about the carbonation in the bottle. I hope not. If this beer is carbonated, its probably in the very good to excellent category.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The first of the 2011 Eclipse treatments that I opened. Yellow wax, delivered to my house about a month ago. This pours dark brown like all Eclipses, with very little head at first (and only a thin ring after a little while).

Sweet smelling with only a minor bourbon nose. I had a BA Blackout right before this, which unfortunately highlighted how much better that beer was. No roasted aromas at all, just a sweet stout with hints of dark fruit and bourbon.

It tastes as sweet as it smells, and while the bourbon flavor is evident there's no hint of heat. It never really gets cloying but the taste gets a little tiring. Light carbonation, slightly sticky and full body.

Not bad at all, but not worth the price in my opinion. I was lured in by my tastes of Pappy and Elijah Craig versions last year.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to Matt for sharing!
2011 Vintage. Bottle #593.

(A)- Pours pitch black. Minimal tan froth.

(S)- A nice rich aroma. Bits of a dense, almost charred oaky caramel with some raisin, coffee, and molasses. Tiny hints at licorice as it warms.

(T)- Similar to the smell. That same oaky caramel charred bit with raisin and licorice. Almost has a subtle smokiness on the back end.

(M)- A nice smooth carbonation level and feel. Rich, thick, and sweet, but in a perfectly balanced sense without being syrupy or too sweet.

(D)- Overall, I quite like this one with its distinct characters that I found to be quite enjoyable. One of the better Eclipse barrel variants in my opinion.

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Photo of champ103
2.8/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Another thanks to Dajtai007 for sharing this with me.

A: Pours a dark black with some ruby highlights around the edges. A small bubbly tan head forms and recedes to nothing. No lace.
S: Lots of barrel in the nose. Wood, vanilla, solvent like alcohol. Sweet raisins.
T: Follows the nose with a lot of barrel flavors. Solvent like alcohol with rough, grainy malts. Charred/Ash like Wood and vanilla. Some coffee come through as well.
M/D: There needs to be more body here. Medium body, low carbonation, and thin. Solvent like alcohol makes this a slow sipper, and one I really don't want to come back to.

To much barrel and not enough stout or body. I have had several version of the Eclipse Stout, and I am not really a fan of them, and I think this is the weakest one of the bunch.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to lurchingbeast for busting this one out.

A - Mostly black beer with a little bit of brown on the edges. Looks a little thicker than other Eclipses. Probably a good thing, I have always felt that these have been too thin.

S - Chocolate, some sweeter smells like berries, oak, and some bourbon. Smells nice.

T - Taste is very smoothed out, the whiskey is not hot, and there is some decent barrel influence. Some good sweet chocolate, little bit of roasted malts, oak, some bourbon. I like this quite a bit.

M - Good carbonation, maybe a little too much, but it's alright. Decently close to full bodied.

O - Smooth, pretty enjoyable. Won't blow you away, but I liked drinking this and found it to be a solid beer.

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, big thanks to flexabull for acting as a CA transit point for my massive shipment of Eclipse. Whoever said CA traders were anything but surpassingly generous hasn't deal with the same guys I have!

Yellow-waxed, 22 oz. bottle #350, slipped into a pair of Darkness glasses, standard dark Eclipse in color: black. Smells of rich dark chocolate, sweet malt, vanilla; not strong. Subtle or weak, depending on your inclination.

Buffalo Trace FiftyFifty carries a lot of barrel. Enough wood/oak to build a small cabin roars out of the gate & sucks the moisture from my mouth. Epic chocoloate that I don't associate with barrels slides in next; lots of cocoa. Roast is the other character bringing a fair amount to the palate: raisin, vanilla, whiskey appear in varying traces. Easy & silky on the throat. The barrel really shows only in the initial blast of oak & as a slow, shimmering aftereffect of whiskey in the sternum. My half-bomber is disappearing with alarming rapidity.

If this is the least of the new treatments, bloody hell, I'm ready to have them all. Tonight. Great depth, startlingly easy to drink, tasty as all get out. All around excellent.

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Photo of cbutova
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks KimboSlobGob. Had a bunch of these last year and they fell flat due to lack of stout base and body. Bring it 2014.

A- Pours to my snifter with a black hue like the background of a moonlight eclipse. A thick and super bubbly frothy head rises to a finger with decent retention. Small sheets and webs of lace.

S- Old Buffalo Trace wood and barrel slightly at the forefront with aged whiskey and vanilla on top of the oak. Deep chocolate base, roast malts and a cherry truffle-like fruit feel.

T- Compared to last year, the non-barrel portion of the beer is miles ahead with a rich, semi-sweet cocoa feel like a fudgey milk shake. Vanilla is huge with the chocolate, like a milk shake dessert at times. Super aged whiskey and old sweet oak. Charred grains balance it out.

MF- Massive body with a creamy and oily consistency. Carbonation is on the low side and in this case it really suits the big dessert flavors.

Miles away from the 2014 besides perhaps the Elijah Craig. The stout base is delicious and the barrel seems pumped up too. A dessert treat.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #205' enjoyed from a Kate the great snifter.

a - brew poured a watery black that settled a pewter black with a generous creamy head that hung out for a while. Some lacing as well, has an almost porter look to it, but pretty much looks like the others in the series that I have tried.

s - Roasty vanilla with some bourbon sweetness. The barrel is there and gives a peaty woody smell.

t - taste is big and bold with lots of charred roastiness. The bourbon is in the backseat. The vanilla is not nearly as present as the nose suggests. Chocolate and other favors come out as it opens up and the beer begins to be less of a char roast monster and balances out a bit more.

m - leaves a boozy tingle. smooth, but with lots of char. Medium bodied. Not as heavy or big as some of the others in the series.

o - overall, solid, but far from the highlight of the series. This barrel seems to add lots of peat wordiness and char as opposed to a bourbon glaze.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.