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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011 - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011

Educational use only; do not reuse.

68 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 68
Hads: 200
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 10.84%
Wants: 50
Gots: 124 | 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:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Copper wax.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 68 | Hads: 200
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Stone's Brewery Bistro and Gardens. Bartender's recommendation for choice. Complex, some coffee,roasty aroma, above-average mouthfeel. Boozy. Very dark brown. Coconut and wood from barrel ageing. Some chocolate, bitter overall. Decent for style but overated.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting courtesy of Retsinis.

2011 vintage.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, wood, and bourbon. Taste is the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good Eclipse treatment with some nice aromas and flavors.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.02/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle #86. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours near black with almost no head. A few mocha bubbles, but that's about it. Very thin mocha ring for a bit. A bit troubling. The nose has quite a bit of bourbon. Fairly smooth, but also a lot of heat. Chocolate and moderate roast in the background. The flavor is fairly boozy, though the bourbon character of it is quite nice. Milk and dark chocolate in the background. Medium body with very low carbonation. Fairly hot. Medium-full body.

Hopefully this was just an off bottle. I will revisit the next time I have one.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention. Aroma of black chocolates notes with some rye whiskey notes also clearly identifiable. Taste is a very enjoyable mix of rye whiskey notes with light woody features with some rich black chocolate notes and some warming alcohol notes. Body is quite full with an oily creamy texture. Very nice barrel-aged stout with a good balance between the different flavours.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Eclipse.

Smell: A good mix of brandy and bourbon. Fruity berry notes alongside caramel, vanilla, faint char and smoke. Subdued alcohol.

Edit: There's apparently no brandy barrel Eclipse in this blend.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet brandy, vanilla, oak, bitter chocolate. Becomes more fruity and tart toward the mid-palate, and ends on a slightly acrid tar note with heavy oak lingering on the palate. Feels a bit thinner than other Eclipse variants this year. Has some good flavors, but surprisingly it feels a bit more harsh and unrefined than the single barrel versions. That's not to say it isn't good, but I do prefer several of the other 2011 Eclipse variations.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like the other variants, black in color with minimal head formation. Lots of roasted malt and almost a mild char. Quite a bit of vanilla and whiskey. A fair amount of booze but some nice chocolate and molasses. The flavor is a bit heavier on the roast and char than some of the other varieties. Not all that much sweet malt flavor or spirit. Some whiskey and booze with moderate vanilla notes on the palate. Good, but not the best from the series.

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Photo of oline73
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We opened this up at our Eclipse tasting the other night. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

The beer pours a very dark brown/almost black color. This beer had a very nice sweetness level to go along with the bourbon. I think this has come together quite nicely and it is a very complex beer. Bourbon, dark fruit, and mild vanilla notes are quite nice. I would definitely have more of this in the future.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black pour with an oily sheen, and a tiny ringlet of bubbles on top. Aroma of dark malts, bourbon and wood, dark fruits and anise. Taste was pretty similar to the smell, dark malts, molasses and licorice, a pretty strong bourbon quality, with a hint of fusel alcohol, baker's chocolate, and a bit of subtle smoke. On the heavy-medium body, lower carbonation, boozy, but still fairly smooth, and quite drinkable.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 09/03/12 notes. Bought this is Philly a few months ago for about $26.99 at the new store in Ardmore, PA, The Beer Shoppe, their opening weekend. Poured into my Bruery tulip. 2011 vintage, bottle #65.

a - Pours a pitch black color with a few very dark brown bubbles when poured aggressively, and light carbonation evident. Looks pretty nice, though not much head.

s - Smells of whiskey, roasted malts, chocolate, and caramel malts. As it warms up, a little vanilla too. Whiskey is very strong and up front here, moreso than the other variations.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, toffee, roasted malts, chocolate, roasted malts, whiskey, and vanilla. Taste has much more caramel and more vanilla than the nose, and the whiskey is hidden a little better, though still prevelant.

m - Medium to thick, full body and low carbonation, with some alcohol heat. Little bit harsher than the other variations.

o - Overall I am a big fan of the Eclipse series, and this is a good beer, but this is probably my least favorite of the Eclipse's I've had so far. I felt the whiskey was a bit harsher and more prevelant than the other 6 or so variations I've had at this point. Don't get me wrong, this is still a good beer, but if you can choose between this and any of the other variations, I would go with one of the others.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Lush. Served in a Jester King tulip.

A - Typical low carbonation Eclipse appearance. A partial ring of bubble and wisps show up, but not much else. Near-black body with a glint of brown at the edges of the glass.

S - Initially this is heavy on the dark roasted malts, licorice, oak, and bourbon. It's surprisingly boozy for an Eclipse variant, and has a light solvent character that I'm guessing is from the brandy barrels. As it warms up the sweetness increases a bit and some of the melted chocolate and vanilla flavors creep in.

T - Taste is more typical of Eclipse, with maple, brownies, honey, baker's chocolate, and a light licorice finish. There's significantly less oak and whiskey than the aroma suggests. Gets a touch hot as it reaches room temperature, but otherwise it's pretty enjoyable stuff. Not much overt brandy here - I'm curious what went into the blend.

M - Body is a bit bigger than some of the other Eclipse variants and slows into the medium-full range. Minimal carbonation, nice residual stickiness, and a bit of tannic character as well. Some definite warming alcohol too.

D - It's an enjoyable barrel-aged stout, but doesn't live up to the heights of the Eclipse series. It's also surprisingly hot and harsh for a 50/50 offering, although some of those flavors dissipated as the beer warmed up. If you have bottles of this version, I'd recommend giving them a few more months - I suspect they'll age nicely.

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Photo of orangesol
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to petesuphi for opening a bottle of this one for us to try.

A - Pours black with a small half finger tall off-white head leaving light lace down the glass. Just like the others it has very little head.

S - Smells of dark roasted malts, oak, bourbon, chocolate, licorice and toffee. An overly charred aroma comes to light as it warms up, not really sure where that is coming from.

T - Starts off with some rich sweetness consisting of vanilla, chocolate and toffee giving way to a nice bourbon kick, leaving the pallet coated in dry oak tannins long after the finish. Pretty damn tasty, could use some time to mellow out.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderately low carbonation. This one feels a little bigger than its counterparts. A little sweeter than the others with some more heat.

O - I liked this one a little more than my rating would indicate. It has a ton of good going for it but it is still a little hot at this point. Glad I got one of these sitting in the cellar, can't wait to try it again in the future. Has the potential to be great.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared by Matt the other night just because. I'll have to bring some tasty the next time we hang out. I had heard mixed things aobut this beer but the one we shared was awesome.

Beer is dark brown with a mild haze at the corners of the beer, thin tan head of small bubbles, no lacing, low carbonation, low retention, looks almost still but fine.

The aroma is sweet, oaky, woody, nice, strong, boozy, I really like it.

Beer is medium in body, a little thin on the finish, oaky -- most woody one I've had thus far. The booze is all front palate, nice, sweet, an almost coconut type flavor up front, light roast, no bitterness, nice finish, not dry. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has been calling my name since I got it. Shared with Matt & Krissi tonight.

The beer has very little head. The color is dark brown. The head is oily and does stay around for a while.

The aroma brings a lot of oak, followed by bourbon. Lots of wood (that's what she said!). Straightforward in the aroma, which is dominated by barrel character.

Again, lots of barrel flavor, which I love. Silky smooth on the palate. Low carbonation. Perhaps too low. Some more carbonation would be beneficial. I still thought this was a delicious beer. A bit tannic with a mild sharpness in the back. Overall, really good. A departure from the norm. Well done.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Oglmcdgl for popping one of these open.
Copper wax bottle into Chimay Goblet.

Imperial Eclipse Stout Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend from FiftyFifty Brewing Co is a black stout with a dark tan bordering on brown cap that left some splotches on the glass.

Smell is what you would expect from the style, dark chocolate with slight vanilla notes and oak toppled by the blend of bourbon BA'ing resulting in bourbon and stout. I May have smelled the honey used, but that could be my mind.

This is nice, not as large than I was expecting in body, yet tons of flavor from the barrel without losing the base beer. Nice hits of oak, vanilla, booze, chocolate, cocco, and some roasted malt.

Feel is a little thin for the style. I kind of like that as it makes it easier for me to drink, and Im sure it helps to pick up more of the barrel in a thinner stout. The carb was a bit lacking, yet not dead.

Great beer, but let's be real, at 30 dollars per bottle it's insanely expensive, a bit insulting actually. In the end it's another big stout with bourbon.

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Photo of corby112
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle 1470, 2011

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a half finger beige head that quickly fizzles into a thin ring. Minimal spots of lace left behind.

Complex aroma with the barrel character nicely integrated into the characteristics of the base beer. Some spicy bourbon but the spirit presence is pretty mild with lots of oak, vanilla and toasted coconut followed by hints of chocolate cake, fudge, toffee, toasted malt, oatmeal and coffee bean. Not overly roasted, however, with lots of chocolate sweetness and barrel. Smells like an oaky, bourbon filled chocolate dessert.

Medium bodied with a stronger barrel presence than the aroma suggests. There's still a substantial malt backbone but it's slightly overpowered by a strong dry, toasted oak presence. Similar to the aroma, the spirit is somewhat tame with lots of dry, earthy wood followed by very subtle marshmallow and coconut notes. I wish there was more of this and the spirits used in the blend but these elements are drowned out a bit by the wood. As it warms the boozy sweetness becomes a bit stronger and the malt backbone comes more to the forefront. Lots of dark roasted malt flavor balanced by chocolate dessert like sweetness. Hints of burnt toast, coffee bean and oats followed by toffee, caramel and fudge-y chocolate. Some boozy heat in the finish making this variation a bit tougher to drink. Still, it's pretty easy for me to drink. I just wish it was a bit more complex and had more balance.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Snifter. 2011 release. Bottle #1797.

A: Black with an inch of light brown froth that lingers for a few minutes. Lacing is left on the glass.

S: Lots of vanilla and oak with a firm roasted malt presence. I get traces of soy and coconut with pronounced brown sugar and caramel notes. There's a little plum-like brandy character. Bourbon is strong. Again, there's a lot of oak in the aroma, as well as a strong booze profile. When the beer really opens up there's a pretty great macadamia toffee note.

T: Bittersweet dark chocolate with notes of licorice, molasses, coffee, and vanilla. There's a big dose of brown sugar. The beer has a lower moderate earthy bitterness. The finish is a little boozy, hinting at a potency that surpasses the 9.5% listed on the label. The flavor is pleasant enough, with many nice elements, but these elements seem disjointed and sometimes at odds with one another. Perhaps a bit too roasted, boozy, licoricey, and bitter. Still, the flavor is pretty good.

M: Full in body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky, silky, and smooth.

Overall: I recall liking the first bottle I opened quite a bit more, but it could be my imagination. A solid addition to the Eclipse series but not good enough for me to buy it again.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle number 2719 from the 2011 vintage. Poured in to oversized CBS snifter.

A - Dark brown on the pour and settled black. Only a very thin layer of medium brown head that took the form of light bubbles that were scattered across the top of the beer.

S - Sweet bourbon and brandy notes up front with a huge vanilla presence and some oak coming through from the barrels. some roast and sweet molasses in the background.

T - Bourbon up front with a big oak and vanilla presence. The brandy is detectable as well but to a lesser extent. Semi-sweet chocolate, roast and sweet molasses flavours come through from the base beer to compliment the barrel characteristics.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

O - This was my least favourite of the five 2011 Eclipse variants that I have tried, but it was still a solid beer that I would be happy to drink again.

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Photo of aasher
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My fiancé bought this for me while we were in Chicago at the beginning of the week. It was a ridiculous $34.99.

First off, the wax was pretty tough to fight through. I ended up having to take a knife to it after five minutes of barely being able to get to the cap. It poured a medium bodied dark chocolate brown which later resembled black as it pooled in my snifter. It was almost still and only had slight bubbling around the rim. It looks weak. The nose features soft chocolates, light roasted malts, light vanilla, some woodyness, and light whiskey. All aspects are a little muted in my opinion, but I realize it's a blend of sorts. The flavors are much different than the nose. This one is very whiskey forward with plenty of vanilla and barrel. The chocolate is secondary. The flavor is nice but it's very whiskey forward. It drinks very light for an imperial stout, not watery but something less than medium in body. Luckily I like bourbon forward beers so I'm a fan of the flavor but the lighter body hurts drinkability. Overall this is a decent stout but was nowhere near being worth $20 let alone $35. The fleecing of beer geeks must stop.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a dark as night black with a thin collar head that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of booze heat rising from the glass with a blend of brandy and bourbon but had vanilla, oaky, brown sugar, and roasty chocolate malts coming through as well.

T: plenty of roasted chocolate malts upfront on the palate alongside good vanilla oaky character, brown sugar, hints of coconut, brandy bourbon booze combo, and caramel molasses accents.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with moderate amount of carbonation which had a roasty, sweet, oaky, very mild fruity, boozy and silky finish.

O: very solid from beer from the series but was not my favorite. Really glad to have tried it though.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 10.1.13

A - Pours a very dark brown with a thick tan head that just sits there.

S - Lots of boozy whiskey, a touch of sweet chocolate and maltiness.

T - Smooth sweet chocolate then plenty of bourbon.

D - Heavy body with good carbonation.

O - A nice bourbon and sweet chocolate, super smooth.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #1964 from the 2011 release. Thanks, Chris!

Pouring the standard Eclipse pour, this is black with highlights that are obscured by the dense, dark brown head with excellent retention and nice lacing. The nose is a nice blend of barrel expressions. There's a lot of vanilla, toasted coconut, a pomace-like brandy aroma, a moderate fruitiness and the base stout (which, rather unfortunately, I'm yet to have tried) Nice, creamy milk chocolate, caramel, and not much roast.

The palate has a nice balance between brandy and bourbon flavors, with some rye-like spiciness also present (though that could be the power of suggestion). Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, booze and brandy, and of course, a little rye whiskey are all present in the barrel department. Moderately fruity and rather unusually for this beer, there's a slight ashy flavor as well. I do welcome it, though, as it adds a nice bitterness to the finish. Caramel, brown sugar round out the malt components, though this is mostly about the fruits. Mildly sweet on the finish with a moderate barrel character, some oak tannins and a little ash, this beer is medium-full in body, moderately carbonated and very nice on the palate. I am quite thoroughly enjoying this.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into snifter

Pours an inky black with a frothy, bubbled tan head resting on top. Spotty, patchy lacing all over the glass, with a swirled cloud of retention on top.

Heavy scents of bourbon with oak and vanilla. Decent amount of sweetness with roasted malts and warmth. A few hints of dark fruit with alcohol and dark fruit. Chocolate and roasted notes warm the nose.

Sweet and boozy up front with a swirling bourbon flavor and oaky vanilla. Warm and roasty throughout, the barrel components really dominate from top to bottom. Roasted dark malts, chocolate, cocoa and molasses. Burnt sugar with vanilla and warming alcohol. Finishes sweet and sticky with bourbon soaked chocolate cake.

Full body, well carbonated, sticky and lingering on the tongue. Heavy, slow sipping drinking with plenty of barrel character from top to bottom. This isnt the best of the Eclipse series, but the mesh of bourbon flavors is quite unique.

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Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle #1933. 2011 Vintage. Thanks to Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Some tan froth and bubbles.

(S)- Very rich compared to the other variants we opened. Plenty of caramel and raisin with cocoa, coffee, and a subtle oaky spice.

(T)- Similar to the smell. An overall larger richness to it with caramel, raisin, and cocoa. A bit sweeter too overall.

(M)- A smooth carbonation level and a nice balance. Again, a bit richer/sweeter/heavier in its taste and feel than the other variants we opened.

(D)- Overall, definitely a larger/heavier beer than the other variants we opened tonight. Still, a solid stout that we all enjoyed. Some liked this the best, but I preferred the Elijah Craig versions far better.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to sincereNc for sharing this one during a recent tasting! Served from bottle into a Boulevard tulip. Poured a massively dark brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, vanilla, wood, sweet alcohol, dark chocolate, and smoke. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, dark chocolate, and wood. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. This one was definitely a very well-rounded brew. A lot of balanced notes in the nose and flavor going on in this one that keep you coming back for more. I had an idea of what to expect after having the Elijah Craig 12 and 18. Compared to those two, it fell a little short. However, this was definitely one of the better brews from the style I’ve had to date as far as balance and complexity. Definitely worth trying if you get the chance!

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011 from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.