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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

57 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 216
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 21.14%
Wants: 74
Gots: 98 | 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: 57 | Hads: 216
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 illidurit
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at Woodshop 7 at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach. Pours dark brown. Aroma is pretty heavy on the booze, with some roast, dark chocolate and vanilla coming through. Flavor is brown sugar, deep dark chocolates and sweet bourbon with a dry finish.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ipa247 for this one. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black with a 1.5 finger frothy coffee colored head with little retention. Spotty and stringy lace with excellent cling and thick, oily legs. Really good for the style.

Chocolate, booze, fudge, roasted malt, and some light soy sauce. Some weird mint in there too. Moderately aromatic. Some lactose as this one warms smooths it over. Just above average.

Opens honey and molasses. Very sweet. Chocolate, fudge, and cocoa in the middle with a big, boozy end. Some prune and fig in there too. Really mellow soy sauce in the background. Aftertaste is sweet and boozy. Delicious.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth and warm going down. Messy finish with a long, lingering aftertaste. Real smooth. Almost exactly what I want.

A real good brew overall but not a standout among the Eclipse series of which almost everything has been excellent. This one definitely holds its own though.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for snagging this for me at the release party, DarthKostrizer!

(Aged for 6 months)

Black in color, with a finger's worth of bubbly brown head that eventually leaves the glass lined and messy with spiderwebs of lace. Gorgeous, and easily the prettiest of the Eclipses I've had so far.

A somewhat disappointing aroma, at least compared to the other beers in the series. There's some chocolate, mild roast, only a little bit of barrel, some minerals, and a little bit of licorice, interestingly enough.

The flavor carries significantly more barrel character, along with some chocolate and roast. There's a bit of licorice as well, which I'm never a huge fan of. There's a hint of vanilla, but the dark chocolate lingering finish is quite nice.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. This actually has one of the better, fuller mouthfeels of the 2011 Eclipse lineup.

Good, but not great. This lacks aroma and depth.

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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 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 gford217
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle, yellow wax.

Pours a little darker than I remember the 2010 versions being with the same thick beige head that leaves some spotty lacing.

Aroma is heavy on the bourbon and oak. There are some heavily roasted malts, bakers chocolate. The nose has a bit of earthy charred character, which is almost like a Danish-style stout, and nothing I've gotten in other Eclipse versions.

The taste is sweeter than I was expecting with more chocolate than in the nose, maybe even some vanilla. Roasted dark malts and a toasted caramel character as well. Finish is all about oak and bourbon with a hefty burn going down.

Mouthfeel is smooth and fuller than I remember in previous iterations. The alcohol is very evident.

This is a very good barrel-aged stout but probably not one of the absolute best from FiftyFifty. I think I'll let a couple bottles mellow for a while because I think it would be even better when the bourbon becomes more subtle.

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Photo of jethrodium
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml bottle shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. 2011 Vintage. Yellow wax. Pours a dark brown with a small tan head that settles to a ring and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is cocoa, marshmallow, bourbon, some oak, a decent amount of vanilla, and a bit of alcohol. The initial taste has a bit of sweetness with marshmallow, oak, cocoa, bourbon, vanilla, and a light roastiness. The finish has more vanilla with a light bitterness and leaves some lingering oak and vanilla. Medium body. Low carbonation. Another solid Eclipse. Perhaps a touch too sweet, but one of the better Eclipses I've had from this year. Not sure if this one is a victim of bottle variation because I've only had the one bottle so far.

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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 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 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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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4


A - pours a deep ruby filling out to black with a moderate tan foam on top.

S - hints of dark fruit, chocolate, oak, alcohol, vanilla. Actually quite nice

T - A strong alcohol presence is the low point, but it otherwise has a rather nice flavor profile, much in line with the nose. It's a bit strong and a bit fruitier than I expect a stout, but I like it

M - There is a very odd phenomenon with this beer...it completely misses the middle of my mouth. It's medium-bodied and rather smooth with a warming finish, but it's all at the front. I'm not getting a sense of much of anything in the middle.

O - Pretty good beer. Don't think it deserves to be highly sought-after, but there is some very good stuff in it. Room for improvement.

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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 brystmar
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

This was the last of the Eclipses opened last night, and it was honestly one of the best. Great aroma with mild chocolate and coffee adding to the rounded bourbon. Taste is smooth and caramely with hints of dark fruit among the stout flavors. Bourbon layers nicely on top and doesn't add much heat.

Overall, Buffalo Trace tied the '10 Heaven Hill as my 2nd favorite, trailing the '11 EC18 (which was our group's consensus favorite). But honestly, I was unimpressed across the board with most of these beers. Bourbon County Stout is far 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 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 scottfrie
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the release party. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours near black with a very thin dark brown head that faded into a faint collar. Tiny spotty soapy lacing was left down the glass.
S: I get big notes of bourbon, a hint of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and a bit of slightly solventy roughness. Boozy and a bit rougher smelling than the other treatments.
T: Smoother than I was expecting given the nose. I get lots of caramel and even a bit of fruit. The bourbon quality is good, and there are flavors of marshmallow and toffee. There is some chocolate in the aftertaste and a hint of roasted coconut.
M: Fuzzy carbonation, soft, medium body, with a decently thick and slick mouthfeel.
O: Pretty good actually. Better than I remember it being at the release. Sweeter than some of the other treatments, and not as smooth as most, but still very good in flavor.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to scottfrie. Split w/ scott frie and bbb099

A: Pours dark, with thin head that takes a bit to show up.

S: Sweet smell with a pretty good whiff of bourbon. Pretty simple, without a lot of the barrel-aged character I was expecting. Smells a bit too sweet for me.

T: Boozy, and a good chunk of bourbon. Definitely more of the oak-y notes with a hint of vanilla. Tastes much more balanced than it smells, but the booze suggests it can use some time.

M: A nice body, a bit thicker than medium bodied. Nice carb.

O: Pretty good. Not my favorite 50/50 offering, but still a solid brew.

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Photo of bbb099
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to scottfrie for sharing this one!

A - Pours dark brown almost black. Caramel colored head that dissipated quickly.

S - Bourbon aroma with hints of roasted malt and molasses.

T - Tasted just like what you would expect: dark malt accompanied with cocoa, barrel/woody, and some bourbon favors.

M - Low carbonation. Full bodied.

O - Solid imperial stout. Probably not something I could drink often however.

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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 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 comfortablynumb1
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Stone IRS Snifter...

Yellow Wax. Bottle#281

A - Pours black with a one finger light brown head that dissipates at a good pace. Some sticky lace is present...

S - Bourbon up front, with chocolate, sweet vanilla, and dark fruits in the mix.

T - Chocolate, roasted barley, oak/vanilla, and smooth bourbon on the end. A hint of raisins comes through in the aftertaste with some lingering vanilla. The dark fruits that came through in the scent are very muted...

M - A tad thin. On the higher end of medium bodied. Carbonation is above average for the style...

O - Not my favorite from the lineup, but still very enjoyable. Going to sit my other one for awhile and see how it holds up...


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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage, bottle #919. Yellow wax so I got the right listing.

4.5 A: Black color. One and a half fingers of creamy tan head. Retention is a touch above average and a good bit of lacing is left behind.

4.0 S: Like the only other Eclipse I've had (last year's EW), the barrel aging seems to be done flawlessly. No off-flavors, no tannic astringency. However, the stout doesn't have the stones to compete with the barrels. Aside from a soft roastiness and a touch of chocolate, the stout isn't doing much. The bourbon and barrel give a lot of melon, some oak, a good bit of vanilla, and some raisin as well. Booze is well in check. Good smell despite the stout's inadequacies.

3.5 T: Well, well, well. I need to stop counting chickens because this tastes a lot better than it smells. The base stout has a lot more flavor than it did last year. Moderate roastiness, plenty of bittersweet chocolate, some anise, a light plum and raspberry fruitiness, and some caramel. It still isn't a great base stout, but it's definitely an improvement. Surprisingly, the barrel has a lot less influence in the taste. There's still plenty of melon and vanilla, but less oak, raisin, and earthiness. Booze is apparent at 9.5%.

3.0 M: This is the worst part of the beer. Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Mild creaminess. They really need to kick up the body in this. If they did, it would improve the taste and smell as well.

3.5 D: Decent offering, but not worth the hefty price. This doesn't hold a candle up to BCS, even though I can get twice as much BCS for the same price. Still, I'm glad I got to try it.

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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 Sean9689
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with yellow wax provide by Frank (lurchingbeast), thanks! Good Beer/Bad Beer tasting. Poured into Bell's tulip.

A - Pours darker brown, pretty much black, thin tan-colored head, which quickly vanishes leaving only the brown/black of the body.

S - Nice level of roast, chocolate, oak, and light dark fruity chocolate notes. A nice mix of rich chocolate, light bitterness, and sweetness really balances this one out. The Buffalo Trace is really smooth and not "hot" by any means.

T - Similar to the nose, but less dark fruit and more barrel. Sweet milk chocolate, light bitter roast, smooth Buffalo Trace, oak. Quite possibly the best-tasting Buffalo Trace barrel-aged beer I've ever had. Really ready to drink now.

M - Full body, rich & smooth, creamy finish.

O - Really impressive stuff. Really smooth, excellent barrel character, and the Buffalo Trace is showcased well. I'm usually not a fan of BT -bals, but this was really nice. Recommend.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.