Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011 - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +16.3%
Poured into a snifter.
Pitch black with three fingers of light beige head. Retention and lacing are both excellent.
Smells of bourbon, coffee, vanilla, oak, baker's chocolate, and brown sugar.
Taste follows smell. Dark chocolate, bourbon soaked dark fruits (raisins/plumbs/figs), brown sugar, coffee, tobacco, leather, touch of clove like spice. The finish is smokey, leathery, and tannic acompanied by some dark fruit.
The mouthfeel is full bodied, velvety smooth, nicely textired carbonation.
One of the best Eclipse versions. I'd rank it below Pappy and Elijah Craig 18, and higher than the rest of the versions I have tried.
12-20-2011 03:32:11 | More by billshmeinke
4.85/5 rDev +16.3%
22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. #520, 2011. Huge thanks to generous BA KevSal for including this as an extra in a trade awhile back!
Appearance: Free pour yields a 3/4 inch light tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves a solid lacing wall from the surface of the beer to about 1/4 inch up. Pours black with red orange highlights and leaves leggy spots and swatches of lacing.
Smell: From the bottle: hah, smells like a bottle of bourbon. Hope it doesn't taste as hot as it smells.
In the glass, it's still boozy, with slight caramel and vanilla, and a strong, spicy bourbon aroma. Chocolate comes out and really grows, along with a light toffee aroma that builds up strongly as well. Some great smoky notes sort of accent everything else... hard to describe, but nice.
While not the perfect/ultimate aroma, it's telling that I'm keeping the beer in my hand, held up to my face, while writing notes in my notebook, rather than putting it down at any point (not my usual procedure).
Taste: Wow, first impression is that I'm drinking a bourbon milkshake. What a mouthfeel; excellent. Lots of caramel and vanilla oak up front, with interesting malt and spirit nuances through the middle. Bit of a roasted malt and lingering hop influence through the semi-dry finish. Perfect bitterness and dryness to emphasize the spicy flavors and keep the thick, creamy feel and caramel/vanilla flavors in check.
Each sip basically yields bold barrel flavors, a prominent, well-done base beer--decent amount of roasted malt and caramel malt, with some complimentary hops (I thought Willamette, but online research says German Perle, which are described as "Minty bittering and good "green hop" aromas," which is what the "lingering hop" flavor here is like--had to look up German Perle because I have not used them myself).
This is what a barrel aged stout is supposed to provide: strong, consistent base flavor, with intriguing, constantly evolving (some wine and brandy reminiscent flavors, spicy bourbon, more expansive chocolate and vanilla notes, etc), but always complimentary nuances.
Basic flavor evolves as well, with a strong and welcome anise flavor through the finish that helps balance the heavy barrel influence up front. This is a spectacular beer.
Mouthfeel: Perfection. Thick, creamy full bodied. Low but sufficient carbonation. Dry enough finish to balance the decadence. Spot on; exactly what a barrel aged imperial stout's mouthfeel should be.
Overall: I've been sipping on this beer for about 2 hours now, and it still commands my complete attention for each sip. Masterfully put together beer. Will definitely seek out more Eclipse variants in the future.
04-05-2012 03:46:40 | More by Pahn
4.7/5 rDev +12.7%
At the release party, black pour, tan head, pretty thin ring. Aroma was probably the best of any of the Eclipses, big time chocolate, mild oak, bourbon, mild heat.
Taste more chocolate, a little sweetness, as if I can detect just what the rye barrel brings to the game. Yeah right. The mouthfeel is nice and chewy, would like to think I can tell the difference between the mouthfeel and consistency here compared with prior years. Bourbon is very mellow. Chocolate stays decadent and never thins out, real dark chocolate vibe with very little sweetness to it. Good touch with the vanilla, adds creaminess and flavor. Hides alcohol quite well like most Eclipse (all?) I've had. Still allows a little smoke to not be distracting, as well as a very tiny dark fruit and approaching tang/sour note in the most minimalistic way. I'm guessing the brandy was used in the perfect way here.
This was my favorite of all the 2011 Eclipse varieties. I think I went back and had it a total of 3 different times during the evening. Very balanced, a real showcase for what FiftyFifty has done, much less their blending capabilities on display in the grand cru more than any other version.
EDIT: Just drank my first bottle of it before the Silva/Sonnen II fight, holy damn, this got even better! Upping my rating to a 5 in the taste, this is classic stuff, how bourbon barrel stouts should be.
01-02-2012 23:13:47 | More by Beerandraiderfan
4.6/5 rDev +10.3%
This review is based on what I remember last night and that isn't much considering how much I had to drink today through sunday football... lol anyway,
Appearance: pours a very dark brown/black body with a nice lace. carbonation was clear and satisfying. brown head.
Smell: best part of the beer. aroma included hints of coffee cocoa raisins and dozens of other things but I simply don't remember what..
Taste: tasted much like it smelled. although a rook, probably my favorite beer yet. Thank goodness I've got a second.
Mouthfeel: pleasant on the palate. Alcohol was well hidden. The flavors were fresh. The carbonation was excellent. I wouldn't wait on this beer.
Overall: 4.5/5. Honestly a phenomenal beer. As I said above, I am a rook, but this beer was extremely satisfying. I'm just excited for the ec 12, ec 18, and brandy I've also got in stock. The Bruery provisions really hooked it up this last thursday...
12-19-2011 07:27:49 | More by HovsepJO
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011 from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.